Like most days, my daughter and I went for a run after work, she in her running stroller and me running. We stopped at a playground in a local park and while there met a man and his son who were playing on the swings. The man and I began to chat as our kids played, discussing running, work, etc. As we talked the man told me an incredible story, one of fear, courage, inspiration and change. The story involved a young boy in Haiti. The man explained that the boy developed a tumor on his face that grew to the extent that it had become life threatening. The man shared of the boys fear of dying, not knowing what to do and at times feeling hopeless. The man went on to describe how some people came to the boys village and began to help his family with work and school. The man described the relief for the boys family as their lives began to stabilize and how the people who came kept coming, developing a bond with the boy and his family. The man explained that the people who came to help also provided access to doctors who could potentially remove the boys life-threatening tumor. With a smile, the man quietly shared about the boys tumor being successfully removed, saving his life. The man went on to share about a program developed to continue this good work of saving lives, saving families, providing stable jobs and access to education. I had so many questions by this point, the man patiently answered them all and explained that the program has grown and uses a unique fundraising/awareness program that involves a 200+ mile run across Haiti.
As I listened to the man's story I was intrigued and felt a pull to be part of this. It made perfect sense to me, I love to run and adventure and I love to help others - I excitedly thought this would allow me to do both. As the man and I continued to speak he shared that the program still working in Haiti is called Work, that he had completed the run before and in fact was the boy who's life had been saved, having come to Pittsburgh, completed college, obtained good work and began a family. We exchanged information and rest is history.
Hi my name is Jon Baillie. Currently I work as as Licensed Professional Counselor at a local substance abuse treatment center and as Director of Youth Ministry at my church When not at work I am with my wife and daugther outside, running, biking, climbing, fishing, etc. I have a passion and purpose for helping others and am grateful to be part of Work's program and the good that they are spreading in Haiti.
Among the many things that I like about Work's program in Haiti is that they maintain a strong presence there. Rather than send a check they actually build lasting relationships with the families and local businesses to help build sustainable jobs and decrease the number of kids who are out of school and working in landfills, etc. In fact, Work visits Haiti at least monthly for 2 weeks or so at a time and employs a number of families there. As you think about donating, know that the money is being invested into a long-term, sustainable program that directly involves/impacts kids and families in Haiti. This is an easy way to be part of something that makes a difference, one that you can see and will be followed through.
I appreciate any consideration you give to donating. Thank you.