Martin County Student Adriana Mancini Pours Passion Into Making Stuart Water Event A Success
In developing countries, young girls often walk for up to six hours a day—all to collect and carry home as much water as possible, usually in little more than rusty cans.
In Stuart, young girls her age carry backpacks full of books and think little of struggling to access staple needs—a difference that fills 18-year-old Adriana Mancini with gratitude, and conviction. That’s why the global water crisis "has taken a personal place in my heart," Adriana said.
For the straight second year, the Clark Advanced Learning Center senior is taking her passion public by participating in the H2O Expo Water Fest, an event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Earth Day (April 22) at Memorial Park in Downtown Stuart.
Organized by the City of Stuart and featuring Students4H2O, the H2O Expo Water Fest unites more than 40 organizations, nonprofits and schools in offering hands-on learning activities that inform and inspire environmental awareness and water protection. Activities include, among others, marine life touch tanks, a stormwater interactive model, a live oyster reef—even tree planning.
As founder of Students4H2O, Adriana—along with fellow organizer Meghan Mickiewicz, a senior at South Fork High School—will lead a Walk4Water to support the Thirst Project, which enlists young people in generating awareness about the suffering the world over associated with clean-water shortages. Caraline Harwood and Anna Robles, both seniors at Jensen Beach High School, collaborated on the fundraising aspect of this initiative.
"Adriana is a really remarkably passionate and energetic young lady,” said Paul Nicoletti, city manager of Stuart. “We’re really fortunate that she’s gotten involved in this event.”
Founding Students4H2O earned Adriana a scholarship from Seton Hall University’s United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Challenge. In 4th grade, she started a recycling program at Bessey Creek Elementary School that was soon after adopted district-wide.
“The imagination and ambition of Adriana is astounding,” said Laurie Gaylord, Superintendent of Schools. “She’s so passionate about the importance of people around the world getting access to safe sources of water—and she backs up that passion with action. It’s going to be exciting to see what more she accomplishes with her life.”
The daughter of Jacquie and David Mancini of Palm City, Adriana was encouraged early on to achieve great things by celebrated surgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who performed brain surgery on her when she was 11.
"Dr. Carson has taught me the biggest lesson of my life, and that is to think big," she said. "That's when I learned about the global water crisis."
The H2O Expo Water Fest continues to grow with Adriana’s involvement. Nine elementary schools, two middle schools, and four high schools are participating, along with Indian River State College’s Science Club, Hope Center for Autism, United Way of Martin County - CHARACTER COUNTS!, Environmental Studies Center, Martin County Rocks, and the Visionary School of the Arts.
"Her dream is to include all the schools, to educate the youth and empower them," said her mother, Jacquie Mancini. "I'm really proud of her.”