In 2018 I was honored to be chosen to share my big idea worth spreading at a TEDx salon event in Greenville, South Carolina. In case you’re not familiar, TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity. My TED Talk focused on “igniting kids’ passions through crowdsourcing.”

As a board member for Water of Life, a ministry bringing clean water and the Gospel to West Africa and India, I asked myself—how can I get my 6 year old son to care about the water crisis?

And the answer came in the form of a stuffed elephant and the concept of crowdsourcing.

Wired Magazine coined the buzzword “Crowdsourcing” back in 2006… but the concept goes way back to 1714.

The British Government offered a huge pot of money to anyone who could figure out how sailors could calculate longitude while at sea. This self-educated carpenter and clockmaker John Harrison solved the problem with his invention of the marine chronometer. He was definitely an unlikely hero.

300 years later… using crowdsourcing to raise up unlikely heroes… to solve a problem that the World Health Organization says kills nearly a million people each year.

I call it Crowdsourcing Kids…. And it starts with this box.

On World Water Day 2018, #CrowdsourcingKids launched. Fifty kids joined forces to sell 50 boxes of elephants handmade by rescued slave children in India. Combining their efforts, they raised enough money to drill a well in Bangarumetta, India, providing clean water to 414 people in India’s lowest caste.

These are 414 men, women and children who no longer have to drink water contaminated by feces. Kids won’t skip school to collect water. Babies won’t die from drinking dirty water. And life will never be the same, thanks to these 50 American kids.

And while the outcome is life changing for that village in India—I believe this idea is life changing right here in America.

Entitlement is an epidemic in our children. Parenting expert Amy McCready, says “entitlement does more than drive parents crazy. It also robs kids of the ability to realize the best of what life has for them.”

You know what kills entitlement? Compassion. Responsibility. Gratefulness.

Compassion for people halfway around the world you’ll never meet.

Responsibility to use your resources to help those less fortunate.

And gratefulness that you can turn on a faucet to access clean water whenever you want it.

So let me ask you this… How old were you when you drilled your first well? Kendra was 7! Sammy was 5! Moira wasn’t even one!

We’re empowering these kids at a very young age… giving them the boldness to believe that even they can impact the world water crisis. And if you can do that at age 5—just imagine how you’ll change the world.

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