SVSU will host the third annual Hit the Streets for Haiti 5K run on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m., in the President’s Courtyard.
The run benefits Project Piti Pami, a nonprofit founded by SVSU alumni Jordan Place and Tom Taugher.
Taugher decided to create the nonprofit because of his involvement with the SVSU organization Standing in the Gap. Within this organization, he participated in various service projects including mission trips to Haiti.
“During these mission trips, we had the fantastic opportunity to work with a Haitian based medical nonprofit called the Haiti Medical Project and help out in their mobile medical clinics,” he said.
While he thought the trips were helpful, Taugher wanted to create something with a longer-lasting impact. He worked with Jordan Place, who now serves as the CEO and president of Project Piti Pami, to form the organization.
“As we returned from our trips, my colleague Jordan Place and myself often talked about how these one-week mission trips weren’t cutting it,” he said. “We wanted to make something more sustainable than one week a year.”
Jesse Place, the organization’s current chief financial officer, said they created Project Piti Pami “to serve underprivileged communities in Haiti by sponsoring mobile medical clinics which treat patients for free in their communities.”
“(The organization) promotes education and advocacy through preventative health education programs in Haiti and public information nights here in the U.S.,” he said.
Taugher said they want to train Haitians to be leaders so the projects continue past when Taugher and his group leaves.
“Our goal is not to come in and be saviors for a week, just to leave them as fast as we came,” he said. “Our goal is to raise up leaders and programs in Haiti that are self-sustaining and able to help their own communities. We want things to run smoothly even if we aren’t there.”
Taugher said they primarily visit and serve three Haitian villages: Savanette, Croix-des-Bouquets and Mon Boulaj.
“We often go to these villages out in the mountains early in the morning to set up the clinics and pharmacy with the Haitian doctors and nurses,” he said. “Word is spread quickly through the community about the mobile medical clinics, and the Haitian physicians will often see upwards of 200 people within a matter of four to five hours.”
From there, patients will have vital signs taken by a nurse, are seen by a doctor and will pick up prescription medication from the pharmacy that is located within the same building.
Taugher said he hopes the Hit the Streets for Haiti 5K run will bring awareness about their organization and the importance of their work to the Saginaw Community.
“(The Haitian people) have worth and are humans like us, with the only difference being we have access to more resources, especially medical, than they do,” he said. “We believe that if we have the resources, we should use them to help other people that need it.”
Taugher said the organization hopes to open a teaching hospital in Haiti to train physicians to work in Haiti.
“In terms of domestic growth, we are continually expanding our fundraising efforts and have large scale events that have spread to Haslett and Lansing to get more communities engaged in what we are doing,” he said.
Place said the organization has raised over $18,000 to support programs in Haiti since its inception in 2017.
Anyone interested in registering to race for $25 can join at www.3pHaiti.org/5k.
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