Conner desperately read fact after fact, and story after story, until, overwhelmed with emotions of compassion and injustice, he had to close the magazine. Just a few moments ago, Conner had begun flipping through the magazine, never dreaming that the one picture that caught his eye would intertwine his life with the lives of thousands worldwide. It was a picture of a skeletal-looking baby, with toothpick-thin arms and legs and wide hopeless eyes that seemed to leap out of the photograph and straight into Conner’s reality. Pulling his eyes away from those of the infant’s, he slowly started to read the article on the following page. It shocked him. The article emphasized the tremendous poverty effecting millions worldwide, and highlighted the lack of clean drinking water in many parts of the world. The baby with the hopeless eyes was a victim of severe dehydration. Although Conner had learned about poverty before and even heard about the horrific conditions of third world countries in every arena from infomercials to church sermons, for the first time, he felt the tension between his relatively carefree life as an American teenager and the survivalist life of others. He knew it wasn’t right. But what could he do? He was only 16.
While his friends were making summer vacation plans and grumbling about final exams, Conner was trying to think of a way that he could bring relief to people living in poverty. In the middle of the summer he approached four of his closest friends Logan, Dan, Kyle and Jared. For the first time, Conner told his friends about the article and his desire to curb the effects of poverty. Conner’s passion ignited within the group. The guys felt the same emotion of injustice, the same urgent desire to do something. Soon, the five guys were brainstorming ideas together.
In the middle of the summer, they discovered their idea. It was a simple one, and one that had been used before. The five decided to sell brightly colored rubber bracelets and use the profits to help people suffering from severe dehydration. The money could fund the construction of wells that would provide clean drinking water in places where it was desperately needed. The guys pulled together their money, less than $500, and ordered 1000 baby blue bracelets.
The front of the bracelets said “Dry Tears”. The guys chose the words “Dry Tears” after they realized that, when a person’s body is pushed to extreme dehydration, they lose the ability to produce tears. The guys’ dream transformed into a movement as they began selling the bracelets and speaking at schools and youth groups in the community. Students and adults alike began to imagine a world where clean drinking water would be accessible to all people. Despite a difficult decision to dissolve the GA branch in the fall of 2010, the movement continues with the Dry Tears campaign.
A campaign of hope.
A campaign of life.