Emma Rider is presented national award

The Jefferson Awards Foundation, the nation's oldest and most prestigious volunteer award organization honored Emma Rider, a rising senior at Sussex Technical High School on June 17, with the 2014 National Jefferson Award for her participation in the Lead360 Challenge.

Rider was awarded the Jefferson Award gold medallion during the evening's award ceremony attended by over 450 guests in the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

The event recognized 90 Americans with the 41st annual Jefferson Awards, regarded as one of the nation's highest honors for community service and volunteerism. Over 325 high schools across the country participate in the Jefferson Awards Students in Action program.

The Lead360 Challenge engages America's youth (ages 5-25) to elevate their local service projects onto a national platform, empowering and educating youth on their ability to affect meaningful-change individually, collectively, nationally and locally.

As one of the three youth-focused programs of the Jefferson Awards Foundation, over 5,000 service projects were posted to "the Challenge" with over one million youth participating.

Emma Rider's project "Quenching Soles" was chosen out of the 27 finalists during a two week social media campaign that engaged social media networks across the globe.

"A child dies every 10 seconds due to a water-related disease." This was the sentence that sparked Emma Rider's Shoes for Water project, Quenching Soles.

Over the past 3 years Rider has collected over 80,000 pairs of new and used shoes, and raised between $30,000 and $35,000. Her efforts have generated enough money to purchase 40 WaterStep chlorinators, bringing pure water to potentially 400,000 people.

Unsatisfied with just donating supplies, Emma traveled to Kenya where she not only helped install three water purification systems, but also taught Kenyans about health, hygiene, clean water and how to maintain the systems for maximum use.

Thanks to the efforts of Emma Rider and others, the waterborne fatality statistic is now down to one child every 30 seconds.

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