Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to fight childhood obesity, three moms are waging a campaign of their own to improve the health of local children.
Kimberly Williams, Litisha Cooper and Sjoukie Holt recently teamed up to establish Walii Water Works, a business that sells bottled water. The water is marketed to schools, churches and other non-profits who want to sell the product as a fundraiser.
Hope said that bottled water is a healthier and more useful alternative than typical fundraising products like cookie dough, wrapping paper or coupon books.
"I thought it was a great idea. It was different and unique," she said.
A few months ago, the women (Cooper and Holt are sisters and Williams is a good friend of the two) discussed the lack of access to water in schools. Bottled water in schools is costly, they said, and the only alternative is to drink from the fountain.
Williams said "a heartfelt process" and discussions about how to keep kids healthy and hydrated, along with Mrs. Obama's campaign to improve youth's eating and exercise habits, led them to establish the company.
"We felt while kids are moving, they should be drinking and they should be drinking more than sugary drinks or pop," said Holt.
A 24-count case of 12-ounce bottles of the Walii Watta, which is what the women decided to call their product, sells for $20 and groups selling the water keep 30 percent of the profits. A portion of the profits will also be donated to global water efforts.
The women obtain the water from a spring in Virginia, and keep their stock in their homes -- Williams lives in Rockdale, Cooper in DeKalb and Holt in Gwinnett.
As part of its fund-raiser presentation, the company also supplies a mascot, Walii Wataa, to help educate children about the importance of drinking water. The women said they hope the Walii Wataa marketing tool is fun for kids and leads them to increase water intake.
The women also aim to educate children on the danger signs of dehydration. Recently, Water Walii Water Works donated 200 bottles of its water to the Heritage High School football team.
Williams calls Walii Water Works a "passion" and hopes it will be a movement for change in the attitude and behavior of children.
"Think, drink water," said Williams, reciting the company's slogan.
To learn more, visit www.waliiwataaworks.com.