Team Tassy
On Saturday, July 26 in Denver and Saturday, September 6 in Pittsburgh, the third annual Great American Water Balloon Fight will take place. The profit from ticket sales go to Team Tassy, an organization passionate about ending global poverty. Team Tassy focuses on helping with the health, education, housing and jobs of those in poverty. Its ideology is that everyone can help, no matter how much or how little.

The story of Team Tassy goes back to Ian Rosenberger’s trip Haiti shortly after the 2010 earthquake. Rosenberger met a Haitian boy named Tassy. Tassy, though surviving the earthquake that stripped 300,000 people of their lives and destroyed the homes of 1.5 million, carried a tennis ball sized tumor on the side of his face.

It was ironic to have survived unlikely catastrophes and yet have a future threatened by something that can be treated. However, Rosenberger realized that the removal of the tumor would not guarantee Tassy a future either. Tassy would still face the hardships that come with an impoverished life. Rosenberger understood that to help Tassy and others like him, people must collaborate to eliminate poverty.

Virginia Montanez of the Pittsburgh Magazine conducted an interview of Rosenberger and Tassy in 2011 regarding the journey together that saved Tassy’s life. Within months, Rosenberger raised $50,000 for the surgery in Pittsburgh required to remove Tassy’s tumor. With the help of friends and donors donations poured in. Rosenberger notes that over 500 people had a hand in helping Tassy jump this hurdle.

In the interview, Rosenberger admitted that there were some worrisome periods when they were unsure of the possibility of meeting their goal and their chances of saving Tassy. However, the ultimate success of Tassy’s story proved the immeasurable power of advocacy.

Rosenberger knows that Tassy’s story is not the only one of its kind. Rosenberger kept going and started Team Tassy in order to help others in need. Rosenberger’s vision and efforts have helped Tassy kick-start a future full of possibilities.  Tassy attends college in Pittsburgh and now envisions a hopeful future. He wants to eventually help others, just as others have helped him.

The water balloon fight was one of the events Rosenberger and his team organized to help fundraise for Haitians. The first water balloon fight in Pittsburgh amassed $22,000. Since then, Team Tassy has continued to host the event.

Besides the colorful sight of nearly 100,000 water balloons sailing through the air over a stadium field, participants can spend their day joining in on other activities. There’s music, yoga, carnival games and food. It’s a very festive, family oriented event. People are encouraged to indulge in some childhood fun in honor of a good cause.

– Carmen Tu

Sources: The Great American Water Balloon Fight, Pittsburgh Magazine, Team Tassy, YouTube – Ted Talks, TribLive
Photo: Team Tassy