Our Founding Story

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Poverty is not a choice. About half of the world lives in abject poverty. Every day people are denied access to a better life simply because of where and when they were born. Team Tassy believes that the cure to poverty is a good, dignified job and has made a commitment to do whatever it takes to prepare and place the poor into jobs so that they can pull themselves out of poverty forever.

Our work focuses on one community in Port-au-Prince, called Menelas. It’s a community of 500 families/3,000 people. Our goal is to serve every single family member utilizing a block by block approach.  In keeping with our goal of preparing and placing the poor into jobs, Team Tassy offers several services that are tailored to meet each family’s unique needs. The preparation process oftentimes involves addressing health concerns, as illness can stand in the way of all other goals. We then ensure that all school-aged children and interested adults have access to education. We address basic needs such as debt and housing, partnering with organizations that can assess the problem and provide a sustainable solution. Once family members are work-ready, they participate in our job preparation program and are trained and placed into jobs with our employment partners. We provide follow up services such as professional development and household budgeting workshops and maintain our commitment to our family members until they no longer need us.

But who is Tassy?

Tassy is a Haitian who our founder, Ian Rosenberger, ended up riding with in the back of an old pick-up truck after the earthquake in 2010.  It was an earthquake that left 1.5 million people homeless, 300,000 dead, and a country in desperate need.

Ian and Tassy began to talk. Ian couldn’t help but notice a tennis ball sized tumor on Tassy’s face. After asking around, Ian found out that Tassy had cancer.  He realized that this boy had survived a 7.0 earthquake, and living in the 2nd most dangerous city in the world, but here he was with a cancer that could kill him.  Even if the cancer were to be cured, what would Tassy’s future be like?   The immediate problem was cancer. The root problem was poverty.

Ian realized that with the right resources Tassy and other families could climb the ladder out of poverty so that these life-threatening tumors wouldn’t stand a chance in the first place.

With the help of friends and donors, Ian and his team made it possible for Tassy to come to Pittsburgh for a series of surgeries to remove his tumor. Today, Tassy is a college student in Pittsburgh, PA. He is filled with hope for a bright future and gratitude for the opportunity to live well. Tassy now volunteers with our team to help other families and his community in Haiti.

That was just the beginning!  There are tens of millions of kids like Tassy out there. Many of them hold the keys to their own country’s success, but will die of poverty before they get the chance.  We want to change that, one family at a time.

Learn more about our work via Ian’s TEDx Talk.