Kayla Houchin is best known in the F-M as the woman behind Indulgence Baking Co. But when Kayla isn’t whipping up delectable cakes and mesmerizing macarons, she’s devoting her time to charity: water, a non-profit working to end the clean water crisis around the globe.
In brief summary, what do you do?
I get to spend three hours each weekday with Kindergarten through second graders teaching physical education at Oak Grove Elementary School. I also own Indulgence Baking Company, where I take custom orders and teach baking classes. My main focus is weddings, but you can celebrate any event or day with a cake! I spend my free time volunteering for my favorite organization, charity: water. I’ve always been generous with giving my time to organizations that I’m passionate about and charity: water certainly tops that list.
It sounds like you keep very busy! How do you manage your time and energy?
My days go by in the blink of an eye and that’s because I’m doing things that bring me fulfillment. That doesn’t mean it’s always fun; a lot of the time it is hard work. You can find me cursing loudly in the kitchen during the middle of the night from time to time because quite frankly I would rather be sleeping. But it all goes back to gratitude. I’m so thankful that I have so many cake orders I can hardly keep up some weeks. It’s still not easy, and I have to say no sometimes. You have to do what is best for you at the end of the day.
What is charity: water?
charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. 785 million people live without clean water. That’s nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide or twice the population of the United States. The majority live in rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family. Not only does walking for water keep kids out of school and take up time that parents could be using to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that make them sick.
When a community gets access to clean water, it can change just about everything. It can improve health, increase access to food, grow local economies and help kids spend more time in school. charity: water works with experts and community members to find the most sustainable solution in each place, whether it’s a well, a piped system, a BioSand Filter or a system for harvesting rainwater. And with every water project they fund, charity: water’s partners coordinate sanitation and hygiene training and establish a local Water Committee to help keep water flowing for years to come.
When & why did you get involved with charity: water?
I first heard about the clean water issue as I was reading “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes. Months down the road, I learned that Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of charity: water, would be speaking at a public event in Fargo. After hearing Scott, I was hooked. I could not unsee the video he showed us that day. I was so captivated and mad and heartbroken, but also eager to make waves. In 2013 I celebrated my birthday with a fundraising campaign for charity: water, and I’ve done four campaigns since. These birthday campaigns have raised over $25,000 for clean water thus far.
Tell us about the event you are hosting May 2021!
A few months ago I came across a notebook from 2014 and one of the things under my to-do list was “email Scott Harrison.” My email to Scott was quite bold, and the gist of it was that I wanted to bring him back to Fargo. I honestly didn’t expect him to respond, but nearly five weeks later, he did.
I’m happy to announce that Scott will be making his way back to Fargo on September for the inaugural Fargo Gala supporting charity: water at The Pines! Scott will be the keynote speaker, and he will be joined by local rockstar Sawyer Anderson, the author of “Water Works.” Sawyer is 10 and one of the most accomplished humans I have ever met. I first learned about her heart for clean water as her physical education teacher last year. Sawyer has raised over $100,000 for clean water.
Tickets, table sponsorships, and event sponsorships are still available for the Fargo Gala! If people are interested, they can contact me directly at 701-341-8952 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or find tickets on Eventbrite.
Who is your hero and why?
I better chose one, although a few come to mind! Scott Harrison is an absolute hero of mine. He has dedicated his life to ending the water crisis and has done more for this planet than most. charity: water supporters have given over 11 million people clean water in 14 years. What I love about Scott is that he wants zero credit. He’s one of the most humble people I have met. charity: water has taught me that nothing is crazy, pushed me far beyond my comfort zone into my growth zone and has shown me a bigger picture. I have Scott Harrison to thank for all that.
What is the best career advice you have ever received? Or, what’s the best advice you have to offer?
What motivates me the most is knowing this is all I get. This one shot at this one life. One of my college buddies used to always say “be about it, be all in” and it’s become a motto for my life. Find your passions and no matter how long or difficult the journey might seem, put in the work and chase that passion with everything you have. Passion fuels everything I do and leads to serving others. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world some days, and I truly hope you do too.