Hi Run Across Haiti supporters!
We are at it again! Our team of 20 runners are taking on 230 miles from the northern tip to the southern end of Haiti over 8 days. We kicked off the run on February 20 in Cap Haitien and will cross the finish line on February 27 in Jacmel. The miles range from 15 to 35 each day with a double marathon to the finish on the final day. Here is a look at the route map to follow us along the journey. Together, we will show that Haiti is not a place to be afraid of or to be pitied, and raise $125,000 towards our work to end global poverty through good, dignified jobs. The funding will go towards our continued effort to expand our services one family at a time, starting with access to medical care and education, and following through with job training and placement.
Check out all of our runners on their CrowdRise fundraising page and their blogs on Tumblr. Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for the most up-to-date info each day as we run.
Take a peek at the dispatch videos from this year’s run!
Check out last year’s run. You’ll recognize a few runners that joined us again this year.
CNN International live interview (http://cnn.it/1PAf7tH)
Runners: You’ve Never Seen Haiti Like This — Outside Magazine
Founded in 2010 in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed 300,000 and displaced 1.5 million, Team Tassy’s mission is to unleash the inherent power in every person to eliminate global poverty. The organization works to prepare and to place the poor into good, dignified jobs so that they can pull themselves out of poverty forever.
Team Tassy founder, Ian Rosenberger, met Tassy Fils-Aime, the namesake of the organization, during his first trip to Haiti just after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010. Tassy was dying from a tennis ball-sized tumor on his face at the time. Eager for a future, he asked Ian for help after meeting him in the back of a truck. A simple ‘yes’ would change their lives forever.
Ian gathered a like-minded community of caring, proactive thinkers, and together they raised necessary funds and support to bring Tassy to the United States for surgery. Through this journey, Tassy illuminated a philosophy for working with the poor, rooted in a deep understanding that extreme poverty is an epidemic that must be cured with good, dignified jobs. Tassy is now on a full scholarship at a La Roche College in Pittsburgh, working towards a chemistry degree. Team Tassy has since returned to Haiti to work with the rest of his family and neighbors. Tassy’s bright future and all of his successes constantly revitalize, and unerringly prove, that Team Tassy’s mission and framework truly works and produces life changing results for its family members.
Ian Rosenberger is an international development specialist, CBS’s Survivor: Palau contestant, and a social entrepreneur. After Team Tassy, he subsequently founded B Corporation, Thread, which creates jobs in Haiti by turning trash into raw materials and fabric. He is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, and an ultra-marathoner.
Team Tassy works to prepare and place the poor into jobs, so that they can pull themselves out of poverty forever. The preparation process includes getting family members healthy and educated. This is done through partnerships with local clinics and hospitals, and by providing full scholarships to the children, which allows them to attend local schools. Once a family member is ready to work, Team Tassy provides training and placement services.. They then continue to work with family members by providing one-on-one follow-up services to ensure long-term, sustainable success.
Team Tassy lives by the idiom, “Finish what you start”, by fully committing to thoughtful and comprehensive care for each family until they no longer need support from the team. Team Tassy aims to break cycles of poverty by defining and treating the root causes of poverty with those it serves, whether that takes the organization 10 days or 10 years. To provide skills and support to transform a community, and build their capacity for resilience, the organization helping must steadfastly pledge to practice resiliency. Team Tassy embodies and reflects this resilience by focusing on long-term follow through and care, and understands that addressing root causalities of poverty takes patience and diligence not easily cured by quick-fixes.
Team Tassy focuses its work in one community, Menelas, located within the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The organization works with individual families and stays with them until each family is independent, and only then after a family has graduated from the program, can Team Tassy lend a helping hand to the next family in need. Employing a block-by-block approach, Team Tassy is currently working with 120 family members in the community of Menelas. They began by collecting data and surveying the community to gain an understanding of the challenges families are facing. The community consists of about 3,000 family members, where median income is $30 USD per month for a household of six. Survey data is available upon request.
In 2014, Team Tassy expanded its services from 70 individuals to 120 individuals, prioritizing health services for all new Team Tassy family members, while providing extended services to its existing family members based on their individual needs. They started a youth program that serves 17 of their scholarship recipients, utilizing ESL education and experiential learning as a platform to explore and increase the quality and quantity of possible career paths. The organization has placed 10 family members into full time jobs and 15 family members into various temporary positions, while providing one-on-one small business support for others. The dignity that comes with having a job and being able to provide for oneself is what makes the most transformational impact in the family member’s life.
Haitian Marc Noel Adme, father of 10 and a beneficiary of Team Tassy, explained, “Haiti has many organizations working in country to help us, but for me, Team Tassy is different. They sit with us and ask us what do we want. If it happens we are sick, then we get treatment; hungry, we get food; a house, they build for us. We found that Team Tassy spends money on the people’s needs, whereas other organizations spend based on their programs. That’s the tremendous difference between Team Tassy and the others. This is what Haitians have been waiting for, organizations that spend their funds based on what Haitians need – then there will be a change. That is the reason everyday I applaud Team Tassy for the good things they are doing.”
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For Immediate Release
Contact: Vivien Luk
January 20, 2016
“RUN ACROSS HAITI” RUNNERS SPAN 230 MILES IN EIGHT DAYS TO RAISE MONEY TO ELIMINATE POVERTY THROUGH GOOD, DIGNIFIED JOBS
On 6th Anniversary of Earthquake, Twenty-three People to Run
the Entire Length of Haiti for Team Tassy
February 20 to February 27, 2016
Pittsburgh, PA – On the 6th anniversary of the devastating earthquake, twenty-three runners gathered by nonprofit Team Tassy, will embark on a 230-mile “Run Across Haiti 2016.” From February 20 – February 27, participants will run the equivalent of nearly eight marathons in seven days, in an effort to raise $125,000 for Team Tassy, who works to prepare and to place the poor in Haiti into good, dignified jobs so they can pull themselves out of poverty. Some are running the entire course themselves, while others will participate as a relay team.
The journey begins on February 20 in northernmost Cap Haitien, ending eight days later (including one day of rest) with a double marathon (56.7 miles) to the finish line in Jacmel, the southernmost tip.
“While training in Haiti…people repeatedly asked me, ‘Who are you running from?’” said Rosenberger, who was a 2005 contestant on CBS’s Survivor: Palau. “The Haitian people are standing up and moving forward. We’re moving with them. In addition to raising money to help place people in dignified jobs, the mission of the ‘Run Across Haiti’ is to show people that Haiti isn’t a place to be pitied or feared.”
Team Tassy was named for Cité Soleil, Haiti native, Tassy Fils-Aime, who ran all 230 miles in Run Across Haiti 2015 (RAH), last year. This year, an incredible leap in support for Run Across Haiti 2016, has grown the number of runners from seven to twenty-three, further increasing the amount of impact Team Tassy and the RAH 2016 can have on its family members and on the country.
“A 2-hour flight from Miami; people are constantly amazed at how close Haiti is, yet how impoverished it is,” said Executive Director, Vivien Luk. “It hits them that we all can and should do something about it. When Ian and Team Tassy donor, Chris Murrer, ran 155 miles across the Sahara Desert two years ago, people stepped up and helped us exceed our $50,000 fundraising goal. Last year, we moved the run to Haiti, added 5 runners, and raised about $87,000 while showing that Haiti is not a place to be afraid of or to pity. We hope that the ‘Run Across Haiti’ will be even more successful for us in 2016.”
Students from La Roche College in Pittsburgh, where Tassy is pursuing a degree in chemistry, will also raise money for Team Tassy by running 932 laps. Other colleges and high schools will hold similar fundraisers in the coming months.
About Team Tassy
The mission of Team Tassy is to unleash the inherent power in every person to eliminate poverty. Established in 2010 in the wake of the Haitian earthquake, Team Tassy focuses on preparing and placing the poor into good, dignified jobs, starting in Haiti, so that they can pull themselves out of poverty forever.
Photos and interviews available.
Team Tassy “RUN ACROSS HAITI” Runner Bios
To set up interviews with Team Tassy runners, contact:
Ian’s passion is built upon 10 years of experience studying economic redevelopment in Western and South-Central Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. He founded both Team Tassy and Thread in 2010 in the wake of the Haiti earthquake. Nonprofit Team Tassy works in Haiti to place the poor into jobs. B Corporation Thread takes trash from poor neighborhoods and turns it into fabric, then sells the fabric to apparel brands trying to be more transparent and responsible. Both organizations work together under the same core philosophy: the biggest problem we face as a species is multidimensional poverty; ending it is entirely possible in our lifetime; & to do it, we need to invest in the poor to create as many dignified, sustainable jobs as possible. To date, Team Tassy has engaged almost 300 Haitians, preparing their families for employment. Thread has shipped nearly 2,000,000 lbs. of recycled plastic out of Haiti and Honduras to eventually be processed into fabric & turned into finished goods and jobs for Team Tassy families.
Ian is a 2013 Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership awardee. He is a 2013 Dignity and Respect Champion. He has spoken about Thread and Team Tassy’s work with the poor for TEDx and One Young World and his work has been featured in the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post. In 2005 he placed 3rd on CBS: Survivor Palau. This is his third ultramarathon, having previously completed 34 (terrible) miles for the Two Oceans in South Africa, and 155 miles (why do I put myself through this?) Great Sahara in Jordan. Ian was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.
“We’re running across Haiti to draw attention and money to a kick-ass country and a great cause.”
Support Ian’s run at www.crowdrise.com/
After earning a degree in business at the University of Pittsburgh and beginning her career in the nonprofit sector, Kelsey became intrigued by entrepreneurship and social business, which led her to the founding team at Thread. As Thread’s director of impact, Kelsey is responsible for measuring the B Corporation’s effect on people, planet, and profit at each step of their certified supply chains. When she’s not talking trash, she can usually be found running, brunching, volunteering and scheming up ways to get back to Paris.
A marathoner for five years, this will be Kelsey’s first ultra-running experience. Running makes her a better person, and she is thrilled to go on this adventure to support Team Tassy and share this country that has captured her heart.
“230 miles, nine days, two mountain ranges, one awesome adventure.”
Support Kelsey’s run at: www.crowdrise.com/KHalling
Josh Elkes currently works at Getty Images. Previously, he worked for Downtown Records managing the label’s A&R department. He also oversees nonprofit relations and partnerships at the FOND Group, a cause-based marketing agency with a mission to offer ‘big business’ expertise to ‘good business’, regardless of budget. Since settling in New York in 2009 to study Jazz Guitar at The New School, Elkes has enjoyed a rewarding career in the music industry and become a valued advocate and consultant for several highly regarded nonprofits. Elkes is the creator of a James Beard culinary scholarship – “The Elkes Family Culinary Scholarship,” and launched a live-online cooking show from the James Beard Foundation’s kitchen, called JBFKitchencam.com. He has also overseen successful fundraising initiatives for AIDS/HIV prevention organization, Grassroot Soccer. His fundraising efforts for Grassroots includes a trip to South Africa to run the Two Oceans Ultramarathon (35 miles), and recently completing the Vermont 50 Ultra (50 miles). After completing the VT50, Elkes was interviewed and featured on Positive Track’s blog.
“We’ll run over mountain ranges and through the urban core, and in the process take you across Haiti through our own lens, all to raise $75,000 for Team Tassy.”
Support Josh‘s run at: www.crowdrise.com/JoshElkesTT
Tassy Fils-Aime, College Student, Team Tassy’s First Beneficiary
Running all 230 miles
Port-Au-Prince, Haiti / Pittsburgh, PA
Tassy Fils-Aime was born and raised in the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. He was raised with two brothers, three sisters and his mother. He loves his family and believes his familial education is what keeps him alive; and that it shapes the person that he is today. Tassy was dying from a facial tumor when he met Ian Rosenberger in Haiti and asked him for help. Ian worked with Tassy to bring him back to the United States for a life saving surgery. After his surgery, Tassy went on to finish his high school education in the Pittsburgh area and is now attending La Roche College working towards a degree in chemistry. He has always believed in the value of a good education and is so incredibly grateful for this gift. Being raised poor, Tassy realized early on that education is the best anchor to hold on to. Tassy’s plan is to work in the medical field and help the Haitian health system.
“Team Tassy has not only saved my life, but a whole generation. If you had a chance to do a similar thing, would you?”
Support Tassy‘s run at: www.crowdrise.com/runforhopehaiti
Born and raised in Sayre, PA, a small town in North Eastern Pennsylvania, Sean graduated from Grove City College, where he met his wife, Chrissy. They have two beautiful daughters, Alex and Grace. Sean now lives in Pittsburgh, PA. He works from home as a software architect for Dell, Inc, which allows him to spend time with his beloved bulldog, Munchkin.
“This will be my 3rd trip to Haiti. I’ve seen firsthand the difference Team Tassy and a small group of dedicated individuals can make and I want to help them any way that I can.”
Support Sean’s run at: www.crowdrise.com/SeanBHaiti
A senior business analyst for Fleetmatics (a global GPS company) by day, Owen is also a graduate student at Boston University by night, pursuing an MBA. Hailing from the great state of Ohio, Owen attended Ohio University and received his BA in finance and management information systems. He loves concerts, camping, Twizzlers and passport stamps. He also won the city spelling bee in the 7th grade.
“I am taking part in the #RunAcrossHaiti, because I believe in the spirit of the Haitian people. Adventure? Yes, please.”
Support Owen‘s run at: www.crowdrise.com/mattison
Vivien Luk, Executive Director, Team Tassy
Member of relay team
Los Angeles, CA
Vivien Luk has spent her career building infrastructure of nonprofits to eliminate poverty and to build communities. She’s also spent many years doing research on the cross-sections of for-profit and nonprofit entities, finding ways for the two to leverage their individual assets to solve the world’s challenges. She joined Team Tassy in 2012 as its first executive director. Prior to joining Team Tassy, Vivien spent seven years with The Forbes Funds, a foundation based in Pittsburgh, PA, that is dedicated to building the capacity of nonprofits.
Vivien has been a short-distance runner for many years. The “Run Across Haiti” will be her first attempt at a run that’s longer than a half marathon. She’s excited to see the endurance team grow from two runners to seven, along with a crew of 10 support members. She’ll be running for all of the Team Tassy family members she has grown close to over the last few years. She’ll also be running for her family, friends and supporters.
“One step at a time, one day at a time. There’s no doubt that we’ll get there.”
Support Vivien‘s run at: www.crowdrise.com/RunVivRun