Most of the student-leaders of the Woodlawn High School chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Students came to FCS for similar reasons.

“I was already a Christian, but I wanted a way to express my faith (at school),” said Brian Williams, who is on the leadership team with his twin brother Ryan.

The group is young — it started only about four years ago, faculty adviser James Daniels said. “I had zero members at our first meeting,” Daniels said with a laugh. Now, membership is around 150 students, he said.

Daniels suspects that their lunchtime meetings swelled because meetings are a drama-free environment they try to create for students.

“Well, a lot of people start coming for the free food,” said Haley Johnson, a senior student leader. But, she said, they keep coming back for the positive reinforcement, sometimes for advice or comfort and often just to find like-minded people.

With leadership comes responsibility, Ryan Williams said. Because they’re seen as the example-setters, “we do hold ourselves to a high standard.” But that responsibility also comes with the opportunity to help, and offering help at the right time can be a true lifeline, especially in high school.

But what started as an opportunity to help one another expanded to an opportunity to help people they’ve never met, who live half a world away, with perhaps the most basic need on Earth — clean water.

Through an organization called Children’s Cup, based in Ascension Parish, the group learned about communities around the world with no access to clean water.

Children’s Cup is a faith-based organization, Daniels said, that helps provide clean water by building wells near these communities, in addition to food and spiritual resources.

“If you can imagine how that changes lives in those communities, it was a natural fit for our group,” he said.

The FCS began by selling Woodlawn High School wristbands for $2 each to students, teachers and friends of the school, Daniels said, along with other school-based fundraisers.

So far, they’ve raised about $2,000, one-third of what Children’s Cup needs to start construction of a well.

They’ve also gotten contributions from Rock Star Racing, www.rockstarracing.net, and St. Jean Vianney Catholic Church.

“We will keep going until May,” Daniels said. They’re planning more fundraisers for the student body, and if they don’t reach their goal, Daniels said, the amount they have raised up to that point will be sent to Children’s Cup until either they or the FCS can find someone to contribute the rest of the funds needed to start the project.

The well will be built in South Africa, Daniels said.

For more information on the fundraiser, or to contribute to the cause, contact Daniels at jdaniels2@ebrschools.org.

For more information on the mission of Children’s Cup, visit the organization’s website at www.childrenscup.org.