I Am Waters Foundation

Today is 12.11.2016

About the Founder

My life as it stands now is far from where I started. As one of four kids raised by a single mother on less than three thousand dollars a year and food stamps, my life was lived in extreme need and on the margins of society, with struggle as a constant companion. At the age of fourteen, after having attended over a dozen schools, I started dreaming of a better life than the one into which I was born.

I was introduced to a photographer who took the first shots of me and I began to realize my dream of becoming a fashion model. At the age of 16, having signed with the renowned Ford Agency, I set off to Paris to begin what was to become a lucrative and successful career as a print and fashion model. I lived and worked throughout France, Italy, Northern Africa, Germany, Belgium, Holland and the Caribbean for one year before returning home to the states to live and work in New York.

After 15 years of hard work and a successful career, I was able to contribute to alleviating my family’s financial woes .

In 1994, I married into one of the country’s more prominent families. Twelve years of marriage and 3 kids later, I had all that I had dreamed of. Or so I thought. In 2004, the loss of my dearly loved father in-law left me devastated and questioning what my life meant and what my place was.

The questioning persisted, developing into a strong call that came through my heart. It was a call to go home, my first home, the streets. I returned…camera in hand, and scared. Scared to face the deeply buried part of myself, my childhood, that I had kept a secret from my friends and the people I knew.

The song that had been silenced, but now plays in my heart, is of forgotten treasure. The gift of innocence and simplicity rediscovered through people who don’t have a persona or a social mask. People who live in an authenticity that is grueling or difficult to bear witness to, and do not have the luxury of hiding.

There is freedom, wisdom and beauty in the people who inhabit the streets, whether they be families, children, women, men or the pets that sometimes accompany them. Struggle is an inevitable, painful fact of homelessness. Being without water should not be a part of it. It is possible to heal one crucial aspect of the intense need that a person without a home has to deal with daily.

In a world where everyone, homeless or not, struggles with some form of incompleteness however large or small, I Am Water’s mission is to do one perfect and complete thing: to deliver water. Clean drinking water in a bottle with a message of hope, love and faith to remind the person holding and drinking from the bottle that something important lies beyond physical sight.

Love, Faith and Hope are everyone’s rightful home. They are truths that provide internal structures for which to live, rest and seek refuge in, no matter where our current circumstances find us, beckoning all of us to remember what You Are as a human being and a child of God and what We Are as a Nation.

Elena Davis