On a daily basis we work with a handful of different clients in various genres of business, from retail stores to laboratory supplies. Relationships develop from working closely with the same clients day in and day out, but every once and a while you have a client that stands out and means a little more to you personally. For me that client is WaterStep. I was first introduced to the WaterStep family about 4 years ago while they were still under the name EDGE Outreach. One of my college design courses was set up as a small studio that took on an occasional client here and there. EDGE was looking for some help with a training manual and came to us for some design work. After working with them a few weeks toward the end of the semester, they asked if I’d like stay on and help throughout the following summer. At the time I was working on getting some work in my portfolio that was actually used beyond institutional walls and I really liked what was happening at EDGE – they were out there making a difference in the world – so I said yes.
For the next year I helped out with EDGE off and on with logos, ads, and some illustrations. It was a great summer. In addition to getting a few new pieces in my portfolio I learned quite a bit about the huge issues surrounding unsafe water. It was an eye opening and heartbreaking experience. I made me think a lot more about how spoiled I have been throughout my life by something as simple as running water. Now it irks me deep inside when I see that my neighbor has left the sprinkler running all night long while her lawn starts to form a chain of small lakes.
Around the second year or so EDGE teamed up with another non-profit and started a shoe recycling program that would help fund their work. At the time about half my income came from freelancing and the new partner was a paying partner, so I was very excited about getting paid for a change, especially since I had just had my first baby. Now this next little part of the narrative is a little spotty. There was a falling out of sorts, not exactly sure what happened to this day, and I was told by the non-profit that they had partnered with that I had to break contact with EDGE and cease working on any of their projects if I wanted to continue getting paid. Woah, what? It was tough place. I needed the money, but I loved all the EDGE crew. I had to tell them I couldn’t work for them any longer. I mean EDGE was my first real design experience after school, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. My relationship with EDGE dissolved.
I worked for this other nonprofit for the next year off and on at a steady rate. At the same time I began working here at Current360. This is were things start to realign. One of the founders of EDGE had previously worked for Current360 and the president of C360 had originally named EDGE Outreach. Small world. Things are starting to come back into focus. After a year and a half working at C360 I started to hear a buzz about EDGE around the agency and that we may even be helping them out with a few things. At the time I was kinda worried about this and the fact that I was still creating work for the nonprofit that had told me I could no longer work for EDGE.
Now, for the second time in this story things are going to get blurry, but just for a second, then things are going to be crystal clear. Something I’m unsure of happened internally to the freelance nonprofit and there was a harsh split within the company. I then received an email saying that I was to cut all communication to the nonprofit and that they were about to embark on a long legal adventure. A little blurry, not sure what happened again, but here we go towards some clarity. Within days it was announced that Current360 would be helping EDGE outreach and I was asked to help with some initial EDGE materials and then we were going to rebrand EDGE Outreach. I mean things went full circle perfectly, like it was timed to the second. I was thrilled to be back with the great people of EDGE.
It’s been about six months now and the rebranding has taken effect, EDGE Outreach is now WaterStep. WaterStep means a lot to me. They are doing amazing things to help bring relief to countries stricken with unsafe water and poor health conditions. They are doing more than the average non-profit. They don’t just show up, drop off some bottles of water and leave. They teach people around the world to be self-sustaining, empowered people. They teach people how to purify water, proper hygiene and health, and WaterStep sets them up with the tools and technology needed to carry on after WaterStep leaves. They teach people how to repair hand pumps and make sure that if anything additional is needed it can be obtained easily within country. They are saving lives and teaching others to save lives.
What WaterStep is doing is more than just a bandaid. The people at WaterStep are making a difference and it is very rewarding to think that we here at Current360 have helped them to make that difference.
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