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  • WORK In Philadelphia - Move Across May

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    WORK In Philadelphia - Move Across May

    Rebecca Curry, Danielle Iannetta, and Emi Stretton are three runners in Philadelphia and supporters of the non–profit organization WORK, whose mission is to accompany families in Haiti out of poverty through good, dignified jobs. Rebecca, Danielle and Emi applied and were accepted to participate in the Run Across Haiti® in 2020, a 200–mile run from the northern tip of the country to its southern end created to show that Haiti is not a place to be feared or to be pitied. All three and the rest of the 2020 roster and crew were not able to participate due to the Covid pandemic and civil unrest in the country. Since then, all three runners have been advocates of WORK and continue to champion their programs within the Philadelphia run community. 


    Below you’ll read about Rebecca, Danielle and Emi’s journey to join the Run Across Haiti®, to support WORK’s mission, and what continues to inspire them to do so.


    Rebecca – I knew Jess Wayashe from the November Project and also followed along as she virtually shared about her training and her experience when she ran across Haiti in 2018. I also knew Alex Carroll and Rachel Bambrick and when I saw that they were running Haiti in 2019 with Jess, I got excited. I figured if this was an experience so amazing that Jess ran it a second time and Alex and Rachel wanted to run it again also, that I wanted to be a part of it. As someone who is always looking for a wild adventure, when Jess was looking for more local Philly runners to join, I called her and asked if she thought I could do it. After she enthusiastically said yes, I applied! The longest I had run up until that point was the marathon distance and would have never considered running several days in a row and hundreds of miles in a week. When I see friends work towards crazy goals and conquer them, I start believing in myself and want to be a part of the fun.


    Danielle – We can confidently say that if it weren’t for the Philadelphia run community and being part of WORK’s Run Across Haiti®, we would not be the runners we are today. We would not be able to call ourselves ultramarathoners. We would not have the relationship that we have with running. And we would not have nearly as many friends! I met Jess Wayashe around the time of her first year training for WORK’s Run Across Haiti®. I followed along as she trained, fundraised, and shared stories of her experience. After seeing her run it a second time I decided, “that’s it, I’m doing this next year.” Coincidentally, this declaration came at the same time I decided I was going to run my first marathon. Every year for my birthday, I focus on a big challenge or goal. For my 26th birthday, I thought it would be fitting to run 26.2 miles and cross off my bucket list goal of being a marathoner. Being an ultra–marathoner wasn’t even on my radar until I learned about Run Across Haiti®. 


    Once accepted into the 2020 Run Across Haiti®, the level of love for the Philly run community, their ability to make going any distance fun, their unwavering support, and their consistent track record of showing up became more apparent than ever. There were 7 of us Philly runners signed up for the 2020 run – all somehow connected through Jess and all connected by the passion for people and creating change. We learned about WORK and their dedication to accompanying people out of poverty through dignified work and we were committed to the mission. Together, we trained, led runs and fundraising events. We brought our families, friends, and networks together and with their support, we surpassed our fundraising goals. We were eager to get to Haiti and we were dialed in to make a difference. 


    Among many things, 2020 had other plans for us and for Haiti. Between civil unrest, Covid, natural disasters, and the combined ripple effects of each, WORK made the difficult decision to postpone the race in efforts to protect the families in Haiti and our fellow runners and support crew. The WORK team quickly created a solution and thus became “Run Across May.” The seven of us Philly RAH runners laced up our shoes, put on our masks, and, in solidarity, ran 200 miles throughout the month of May. Those miles looked very different from our training runs. Most of these miles took place solo, sometimes in–doors on treadmills, or in apartment building hallways. However, these miles were equally as cheered for and supported by our fellow runners and our extended networks. We continued to raise money and awareness for WORK and the families in Haiti. Fast forward three years later and “Run Across May” has expanded and made even more of an impact. 


    The three words of “Run Across Haiti” and “Run Across May” will forever remind us of three of the greatest impacts to come out of the experience of being involved in this campaign and that is: 


    – The power of resiliency and agility which continues to be exemplified by the people of Haiti, the solution–oriented and creative team behind WORK, and the drive behind runners setting out for any road or race.

    – The power of creating change and making an impact – which both the RAH and RAM programs have been successful doing. Continuously reaching new fundraising goals and providing new opportunities to partner with Haitian entrepreneurs and organizations to provide access to dignified jobs which will continue to accompany people out of poverty for generations to come. 

    – The power of community – the Philly run community and each of our individual friends, families, networks who came together and supported us as we trained for the initial race, virtually cheered on the sidelines as we set out for the first RAM, and shortly after, joined in on the #200Together these past few years as we’ve continued to take part in RAM. 


    It’s not only about the 7 days running across Haiti, 31 days running across May, logging the 200 miles or reps for #200Together, it’s about the one mission that we are all on and that is to make a difference. Whether in Philly, Pittsburg, LA, me now currently in San Francisco, or in Haiti, WORK continues to bring us together. We’re so grateful to have made lifelong friends through this run (shout out to the original 2020 RAH fam Jess, Dani, Emi, Becca, Rachel, Alex, and Marc), Brodie and the unconditional support of the Philly O.P.A.C. run crew, as well as many of the Philly run clubs – Issa Run Crew, Why We Run, to Philadelphia Runner, Puma, and the Philly Diadora team who gifted us sneakers and gear to train in, and to the Philly businesses who supported many of our happy hour runs and fundraising events – Gran Caffe L’Aquila, the Deacon, Pat’s Steaks, DiBruno Bros, Garces Group, 12th Street Catering, Yards Brewery, 13th Street Cocktails, Evil Genius Beer, Party Rental Ltd, and many more, and of course, for the team at WORK who are so talented at what they do, passionate about what they stand for, and have become life–long friends to those who have become part of the RAH/RAM family. Here’s to the road ahead!


    Emi – My running journey started in 2013, I started running with a run group ran by Philadelphia Runner. I had heard about the Run Across Haiti® through the Philly running community. At this point I had run the Broad Street Run six times, seven half marathons, five 10k, one 15k and one full marathon. I was looking for something that was going to really challenge me. I had randomly started following Jess on Instagram and saw that she had done Run Across Haiti® previously and watched along as she prepared to do it again. I had just completed my very first marathon in 2018 and thought what better way to challenge myself than to do something as extreme and adventurous as Run Across Haiti®. So I applied, never did I think I’d get accepted.


    Thanks to the support of the Philadelphia community and beyond, WORK has been able to accomplish so much this year, including:


    – Direct services provided to 81 Families in Menelas and Trutier

    – 33 Small Businesses awarded start–up funding

    – 151 school–aged children participated in our Education Program, receiving education assistance for necessities like tuition, school entry fees, school supplies and books, office hours that provide a safe space for students to study and complete school–related activities with the support of instructors, and our Youth Program

    – Expanded our services to seven additional communities in \Haiti including 10 Center Owners and 70 Collectors and their families

    – Diverted our 200 millionth plastic bottle from the environment


    Join our Philly community for Move Across May – a month long campaign challenging you to move in whatever way you choose, to help WORK accompany families in Haiti out of poverty for good. Pick a challenge and move with our Philly fam this may. 


    Donate to Move Across May here: https://charity.pledgeit.org/2024MoveAcrossMay


    To learn more about WORK, visit www.dowork.org and follow them on social @doworkorg



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