Tag Archive | "Laura Van Dyke"

Fifteen BI Teens and Adults Going to Haiti to Help Orphans, Schoolkids, and Malnourished Children

Ask Laura Van Dyke about Partners in Health, the organization that boldly proclaims “Health is a human right,” and she will gush. That’s because she believes fully in founder Paul Farmer’s practical but ambitious vision that communities around the globe need to be empowered to take care of the health of their citizens. Unlike other health-focused global nonprofits, PIH works with the governments of the countries it serves to establish long-lasting solutions. Van Dyke says the process is harder but more sustainable.

Now Van Dyke, seven other adults, and seven high school seniors are traveling to Haiti to help Partners in Health with their health-focused mission there. They fly out next weekend, carrying $300 of medicines and medical supplies, switch planes in Miami, and take a bus out of Port au Prince to the higher-elevation and more rural Central Plateau.

The team consists of local PIH chapter co-founders Van Dyke and Brad Lewis, who is also a teacher at BHS and the founder of the school’s Social Justice League. Neill and Patty Raymond, who are youth ministers at St. Cecilia’s, will also be going, accompanied by their eldest son who works in the movie business in LA. Ellen Murphy, a teacher at St. Cecilia’s, and Dana Brumley, co-owner of Outbound Expeditions, will round out the adults.

The kids are mostly members of the St. Cecilia’s youth group and/or BHS’s Social Justice League. There was a great deal of interest among teens, but Van Dyke said they had to limit the numbers. The kids that are going are using the experience for their senior projects and are doing all their own fundraising. One of the kids, Madeline Crawford, is organizing a May walk fundraising event for PIH.

Haiti is a global Ground Zero when it comes to medical crises. The population suffers from HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and cholera. On top of that, Haitians are struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed upwards of 150,000 people (estimates vary widely) and left many more homeless and in dire need of food and water. Just as bad, Haiti is already feeling the devastating effects of climate change, especially in terms of soil depletion and drought caused by warmer temperatures and widespread deforestation.

Flowers of Hope School

Flowers of Hope School

The BI team will spend ten days at an orphanage in Hinche (ahnch) whose population of 300 swelled by one-third after the earthquake. They will play with the kids and teach them English. Then they will serve as the manual labor for building a concrete floor for the three-room 300-student Flowers of Hope School in Clory. The BI group raised the money for the new school floor. Van Dyke said the Flowers of Hope School was started by two Haitian men who are a little more well-off than their neighbors and wanted to give back. One is a UN interpreter and one manages the Midwives for Haiti nonprofit, which the group will also visit.

The BI team will then help restock medicines at the Azil Refeeding Center in Hinche, where undernourished babies and toddlers can get nourishment. The center is run by the Sisters of Charity. Children under five can live at the center until they regain healthy weight.  

Nourimanba plant

Nourimanba Central Plateau facility

Another stop for the group is the Nourimanba Plant, a project for which Van Dyke has raised funds. Nourimanba is a life-saving peanut butter concoction made with milk powder, vegetable oil, sugar, and vitamins. PIH distributes the product for free throughout Haiti to combat malnutrition. UNICEF reports that as many as 300,000 children in Haiti are malnourished.

In the Central Plateau, PIH has built a 320-bed solar-powered teaching hospital, Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais, at the request of the Haitian government. It is the largest solar-powered hospital in the world. PIH also hires citizens to check on the local populations to identify people who need help and get them to the hospital. The hires also ensure that the patients get and take their prescribed medications. Van Dyke said that the hospital offers high-quality care, not just basic and emergency care.

Bill Gates, who is a big fan of Dr. Farmer and PIH, writes on his blog that PIH helps run medical clinics at 12 sites in Haiti where “they reach more than a million people and employ thousands of Haitians.” PIH is also currently working in Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Russia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, and the United States (in Boston and with the Navajo Nation).

To support our local PIH chapter’s work in Haiti, click here. 

Crawford’s senior project, the fundraising walk “Strides for Solidarity,” will be held at BHS at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Participants will walk 20 laps (5 miles) around the track in solidarity with Community Health Workers around the world. All proceeds will go to Partners in Health.

Photos courtesy of Flowers of Hope School and Jon Lascher/Partners in Health. Featured photo by Laura Van Dyke shows Partners In Health|Engage volunteers at the PIH Soup Night at Eagle Harbor Book Company: Emma Van Dyke, Signe Lindquist, Mary Van Dyke, Spencer Alpaugh, Carolyn Williams, Hayden Murphy, and Elizabeth von Ruden. Alpaugh, Williams, and Murphy are going to Haiti.

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As Seahawks Win Inside Century Field, Seattle Homeless Outside Stay Warm with Bainbridge Help

Yesterday, as the Seahawks battled it out with the 49ers in an exciting, down-to-the-wire match, and thousands of Seahawks fans generated yet another seismic event on an already tremulous fault line, homeless people huddled under the viaduct, trying to stay warm, or panhandled the fans or looked for food. Maybe some of them listened to the game on transistor radios. Maybe a lot of them didn’t really care what was happening in the nearby noisy arena. But, regardless of their interest, several hundred of them were a little warmer than a month ago. That’s because of the work and generosity of a number of Islanders.

Knit. Purl. Give 1

Bainbridge warms the hearts (and heads) of Seattle homeless.

Knit Purl Give

On January 5, Bainbridge Realtor Ty Evans’ Knit Purl Give project, which tasked Island knitters with making hats and scarves for Seattle’s homeless, delivered the first 60 items to homeless people. Evans and a friend headed to the Union Gospel Mission on 2nd Avenue and some other spots on 1st and opened boxes of knitted wear, inviting people to take hats and scarves. Evans said that one man asked if there was a hat in Seahawks’ colors—unfortunately, there wasn’t, but he seemed happy with his chosen hat anyway. A woman asked if it was okay for her to take one if she already had a hat—Evans said she should as it would help her stay warmer.

One knitter sent a box of items from Florida—he had picked up some kits when visiting the Island. Evans said another knitter had donated a huge bag of brightly colored yarn to the project. One woman called at the last minute to say she wanted to participate but there were no more project kits at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. Evans happily paid for another one so the woman could join in the effort. Another woman made an entire boxful of items herself.

Evans told me that she can’t even knit a hat. But she does know how to knit a scarf, so that’s what she did. Plus, even more important, she and her daughter launched the Knit Purl Give project last November, footing the bill for the dozens of hat and scarf kits made available through Churchmouse. The project was so successful that she intends to turn it into an annual event.

Columbia Sportswear Donation

Columbia donation

Part of the Columbia Sportswear clothing donation at the MID offices.

Then on the 10th, Andie Mackin, the Executive Director of the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, who had been helping coordinate the distribution of the hats, met with Dave Willard, the Manager of Seattle’s Hospitality and Safety Program, to deliver the rest of the hats and scarves. But Mackin, who visited Willard with her daughter who was home from college, was there for another reason as well. She had secured a generous donation from Columbia Sportswear of four pallets with 64 boxes of winter gear, and she and her daughter were there to help Willard and his crew sort through the items and figure out how to distribute them to needy people.

Several years ago, when Mackin worked for IslandWood in Community Engagement, she realized that “many of the inner-city students who came out for the School Overnight Program didn’t own proper rain gear, boots, and outdoor clothing.” In 2002, when the program launched, IslandWood had a well-stocked gear shed with backpacks, rain gear, and assorted other items, but most of the gear has worn out by the time Mackin got involved. So she contacted Columbia Sportswear , and the company provided IslandWood with a donation of heavy duty rain gear, backpacks, and boots that, Mackin said, “has kept thousands of kids warm and dry.”

Dave Willard and his crew with the Columbia clothes.

Dave Willard and his crew with the Columbia clothes.

When she was coordinating the Knit Purl Give project with Willard, Mackin realized that “there was probably much greater need on the streets of Seattle, beyond the hats.” So again she reached out to Columbia, which sent to Willard’s office on 4th Avenue the pallets of gently repaired items through the Company’s “ReThreads” program. Before heading over to Seattle, Mackin said, “From the sound of Dave’s [Willard's] voice this afternoon, it’s pretty astounding—even a little overwhelming. I can’t wait to see it for myself.”

Willard told me that some of the donated gear and the hats would go to the Union Gospel Mission, some to Compass Housing, and some to the Downtown Emergency Service Center.

BHS Social Justice League

Although, the Seattle homeless are not direct beneficiaries of the work so far of  the Bainbridge High School’s Social Justice League, which is run by teacher Brad Lewis, SJL is just another example of Islanders reaching out to needy people beyond our borders with clothing. This Friday, January 19, SJL completed a two-week clothing drive that collected 80 bags of clothing from the community.

Knit Purl Give

Happy guys in new hats.

The clothing will benefit needy people around the county. The Arc of Kitsap offered to pay $3 per bag. A generous islander matched the first $200 raised and then routed his donation through the Gates Foundation where he works, turning it into $600. All the money raised is being donated to Partners In Health (http://www.pih.org), a national organization with a local chapter run by Lewis and Islander Laura Van Dyke. The mission of PIH is to bring health care to poor people around the globe, and the $1000 raised will go specifically toward fighting multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis in Lesotho. The local chapter of PIH, which recently hosted the screening of Girl Rising, is planning a mission to Haiti with high school students and a fundraising running event in the spring. The Social Justice League collected 10,000 pounds of food for Helpline House over the holidays.

Related Story:

Knit Purl Give—or How Bainbridge Is Knitted to the Seattle Homeless

Photos by Ty Evans and Andie Mackin.

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BIXC

Biggest Bainbridge XCountry Team Ever Runs at First Meet Today, Targets State

The biggest BHS Cross Country team ever, with 114 members, looks more like a meet than a team when gathered. And this caravan is already mapping out the route to state. Head Coach Anne Howard Lindquist said that many of the runners worked together all summer, and in July ten of them attended Steens Mountain High Altitude Training Camp, a rugged and intensive wilderness camping and running experience in southeastern Oregon for teens 13 to 18.

An influx of new athletes is another positive factor. Team Captain Elizabeth von Ruden is especially optimistic about that: “I am really excited about this season because of all the promising new members this year. It looks like we have a great shot for state.”

Senior and Team Captain Signe Lindquist, who is the coach’s daughter, hasn’t ever seen the BHS Girls team make it to State, though she has qualified as an individual for the past three years. But she doesn’t want to run alone this time. She said, “I think we have a great chance of making it this year, having a strong returning upper classmen group as well as a few talented freshmen and a surprise crew team member joining us this year. Stay tuned; it should be exciting to see where we go.”

The boys did make it to State last year, the first time for them in eight years. They finished seventh overall. They have lost some of their top runners to graduation, but Coach Lindquist noted the top returning male athletes: Austin Harper (Team Captain), Nick Entress, Thomas Daniels (Team Captain), and Sean Simonsen, along with juniors Arthur Bacon and Peter Lindsey (Team Captain) and sophomores Lucas Weyand and Keith Carlson. She’s also looking to a few newcomers: junior Joe Gildner, sophomore Devon Reynolds, and a pack of fast freshmen: Kawin Nikomboriarak, Wyett Longley, Jack Friedman, and Harry Bresford.

On the girls team, top returners include seniors Alison Wise, Ivy Terry (Team Captain), Elizabeth von Ruden (Team Captain) and Signe Lindquist (Team Captain), as well as juniors Lindsay Wienkers and Morgan Blevins and sophomores Julia Denlinger and Malena Delgado. Top newcomers include senior Carolyn Williams, junior Haylee Derrickson (varsity rower for BHS Crew), sophomore Anneke Karreman, and freshmen Naomi von Ruden, Audrey Weaver, and Jackie McVay.

Wise has been on the team all four years of high school. She marvels at Coach Lindquist’s ability to work with so many people: “So far, it looks to be a really supportive and friendly team. Anne is hard on us, but she does it through kindness. It’s a much more efficient coaching strategy. I love how she can bring such a personal approach to coaching, even with such a huge team.” One way she manages the running herd is with the help of Assistant Coaches Amy Evans, Mike Shiach, Paul Benton, Rick Peters, and Laura Van Dyke.

Coach Lindquist also credits brainpower: “Our coaching team and runners understand that it takes a lot of consistent, smart, hard training to be good at distance running. So we need enjoyment, craziness, and fun along with the tough workouts. Practice should be one of the best parts of the day. We coach for physical and mental improvement every season, in all our runners.”

The steam started its season with a jamboree event, the Tahoma Relay, on September 7. But its first competitive meet happens today, September 19, at Woodland Park, where BHS will race against Franklin, Ingraham, Cleveland, and Chief Sealth High Schools. On Saturday, September 21, the team heads to Port Angeles for the Salt Creek Invitational, presumably requiring several buses to get there.

Local fans can cheer on BIXC on their home turf at Battle Point Park on September 25 and October 9. The races start at 3:40 p.m. for each of these meets. And you might want to start planning ahead for the State meet, which will be held on November 9 in Pasco.

The featured photo by Rick Peters was taken at the Tahoma Relay September 7. 

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“Ovation!
Virginia Mason