Our spark and passion come from our youth groups

Teen leadership and mentoring play a vital part in the mission of Wisdom Spring, and have from the very beginning when we started in 2003. Everything we do finds its source here. Although a focus every year is raising funds for water and education projects, our main work is the year-long support and skill-building experiences we steward for our youth groups. Not only providing opportunities to learn real-life skills they can carry with them but also providing a safe place for the expression of passions, struggles, and life goals. 

After 20 years we know from experience, and from past Teen Leaders, that the support the teen groups receive through Wisdom Spring is something they value for years to come. We strive to create opportunities that celebrate the gifts they bring to the world, even if they are just starting to understand them. We become allies. 

Our plan for the next 20 years, and beyond, is to continue to forge dynamic learning experiences with our Teen Groups and expand the opportunities to share their voice. We hope you join us in supporting this work financially, as well as with access to resources so these incredible leaders can thrive.  


This is where it all began, with a student from Heritage High School in Leesburg, Virginia. Kristen Wood had one direct thought – what if we walked for water? What if we walked to raise awareness and funds to make a difference? That idea led to an event that has raised money for over 20 wells. Today we still engage the same core schools, and those students are just as passionate.


Although formed more recently, the group of high school students from Laguna Beach, California have wasted little time in building a successful Walking for Water event over the last few years. They also work hard to engage community businesses in donating goods and services, many of which are offered in the large silent auction held alongside the walk itself. Their innovation is an inspiration.


Susan Hough – President and Youth Leader – Susan functions as our core mentor, leader, and counselor for the Teens on the East and West Coast since the beginning of the organization. She is an ongoing support and sounding board for the kids throughout the year. During the school year, she meets in person and through zoom meetings twice a week with groups from both coasts to inspire, develop, problem-solve, and coordinate the plans for our yearly fundraisers and initiatives, as well as works closely with them to create a safe place for sharing the challenges they face on a daily basis. Although the frequency of meetings is reduced during the off-school months, she is always available for counsel and support. We feel this role is essential for the Teens to feel they have an ally outside of school and home, someone that can be an independent mentor and friend.


Teens on their radio show at KXFM


Since 2020, the Walking for Water club at Laguna Beach High School, working through local radio station KXFM, has developed a radio program that runs throughout the year called Walking for Water Teen Action. The program focuses on topics connected to current issues, community engagement, and challenges facing youth today.

Logo for KXFM





 The youth are our future. It is an overly used phrase, but worth repeating. We can engage them and encourage their voices to sound out the concerns they have, or we can ignore that voice. Our Founder, Sobonfu Somé, understood the value of listening to this vital resource and finding inspiration. There is much we need to hear and learn from this important group




























Key to all the work we do with high school students in every community is the incredible work and mentorship of parents, teachers and local business owners. They are the ones working out problems and encouraging the students to resolve challenges and inspire others. We are deeply grateful for this group of adults who go beyond the call of duty and help make these events a success.

Thank you from Dupgued Chophelling Monastery for our help creating a well near Nagpur, India

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn How To Get Involved!

Can I create an event IN my school?

You sure can! Someone from Wisdom Spring will work with you to figure out the feasibility of a project and walk you through some core questions. Feel free to contact us for ways to do this.


Not necessarily. There are many ways to create a fundraising event. Kids have created art auctions, made and sold special items like hats and tee-shirts, or created online campaigns. Part of the process is working to brainstorm with you to encouage your own creativity.


Yes. Generally at least once a year we go to the communities we support to see what is happening on the ground. Because we are a small organization, we do not have staff stationed in those countries. We rely on local partners to help oversee projects and make sure the work is being done as promised.

Are You A Religious Organization?

No. Our founder Sobonfu Somé was a spiritual teacher who spent many years teaching about ritual and community building in the West. However, in the creation of this organization she wanted to make sure the focus was on being of service and telling the stories from her community and any others we might work with. We do not push any agenda or require communities to adopt any doctrine.

Can I travel to the communities you support?

Although we are working on ways to bring the youth groups we work with to the countries we serve, we generally do not because of cost and safety. It is good to be inspired, and at the same time essential to make sure that you have proper support and connections to a community you travel to. We are open to talking more if organizing a trip is important for your group.

DO People Really Walk That Far for Water?

YES!!!! We have walked some of those paths with the children and women who must walk every day — sometimes several miles each way — just to bring home a container of water. It is not something made up, but is in fact a hard reality for many in the world.