At first blush Marlaina Lloyd looks like your average 8th grader from Southern California. However, this 13 year old Californian decided enough wasn't being done in the face of the serious water shortage and drought in California.
The State Water Resources Control Board announced earlier this week that an "emergency regulation" which requires a mandatory statewide 25 percent reduction in water use for California's population of nearly 40 million residents.
The announcement came in response to a directive from Gov. Jerry Brown made on April 1. This move is unprecedented in the history of the U.S.
Ms. Lloyd spent her spring break calling Indian Nations and environmentalists across California in an effort to make a difference. Since then, she has officially teamed up with the Cherokee, Navajo, and Pawnee Indian Nations to spread awareness on California's water catastrophe, with the newly minted non-profit Dance the Drought Away.
The charity has already raised over $5,000,000 in the last two weeks since its inception, in part due to the viral spread of her school's performance of a Navajo rain dance video uploaded to YouTube. This non-profit that strives to teach Californian's how to rain-dance in order to spread the word on the seriousness of the drought is also supported by its generous casino-owning partners.
Dancing the Drought Away started because Marlaina was told her family would have to start rationing water for her dogs, horses, and pet bird because new laws had passed. However, she witnessed first-hand the enormous amounts of water being wasted and decided to make a stand.
Her union with the Native American Nation's stems from a 3rd grade field trip to the Diegueno reservation outside of San Diego County, where among other activities, she participated in a rain dance.
In an interview with KTLA 5 Los Angeles, Ms. Lloyd stated "I remember listening to the strict instructions on how to properly rain dance and the ancient stories behind rain dancing. When we all danced, I believed it would rain. I want everyone to start rain dancing. If we all believe, we can make it rain. I can make it rain."
Marlaina will graduate from Carmel Ranch Middle School soon and will be heading to high school in a few months. However, she will spend her summer traveling with the tribes to visit communities throughout California teaching children and adults alike how to rain dance, in an effort to spread awareness.
For more information on how you can help, please visit MakeItRain.com or your local casino. You may also call 1-800-RAINING. Dance the Drought Away is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is compliant with state and federal statutes and regulations.