What Can an 8th-grader Do?

KNOXVILLE, TN— About 1,000 students at South Doyle Middle School (SDMS) now have access to chilled, filtered water from a new bottle refill station as a result of the hard work and perseverance of one of its students.

In January, 8th-grader Isabel Brown emailed Sarah Eastburn, Director of Educational Outreach and Marketing for Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN), to inquire about replacing an outdated fountain at SDMS with a water bottle refill station. Brown had heard of TCWN’s “Bringing Tap Back” (BTB) program, which encourages students to choose water instead of sugary drinks.

Brown was in pursuit of a Girl Scouts Silver Award–the highest a Cadette can earn–that required her to identify a need and complete a project to improve her community. As a member of the SDMS Environmental Club, Brown began raising funds by selling refillable water bottles, tabling at neighborhood events, and even selling brown-bag lunches to teachers. When the fundraising deadline was fast approaching, TCWN created a GoFundMe page and donors took Brown to the finish line.

TCWN and SDMS honored Brown’s achievement at a ribbon cutting event on Wednesday.

“I love seeing students taking an interest in improving their lives and the well being of their community,” said Eastburn after discussing the health effects of consuming too much sugar with the classroom in attendance.

The BTB program was established with a grant from the Tennessee Department of Health to combat rising rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in Tennesseans. Additional program benefits include lead filtration and the reduction of single-use plastic waste.

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