2016 Marina MacKinnon, Brunswick High School
$1000 Mainely Character Scholarship
Marina MacKinnon developed the Safe Water for Youth Program to help Mayan children learn about healthy hygiene. As an English teacher in the highlands of Guatemala in 2013, she realized that her students needed clean water more than her lessons. Marina watched her young students take antibiotics for diseases caused by contaminated water. The next morning they brushed their teeth with the same water that made them sick. Marina decided to involve her Maine community in finding a way to help.
Marina enlisted family, friends, and Rotary Club members to develop a plan for solving the problem. They raised funds for water filters and deworming medications. She designed a rag doll with a toothbrush to teach children about hygiene. Marina recruited community members to make hundreds of dolls. She used the money she earned from a summer job to pay for her return trip to Guatemala. With Mayan mothers, Marina hiked from home to home in the mountains of Guatemala, handing out filters, medications, and dolls.
Marina increased local understanding of global water management issues by involving her community in reaching out to Mayans in Guatemala. She planned to pursue an interdisciplinary concentration in biology and public health, believing that we are “one global interconnected community.”