Strides in Solidarity
On Saturday, May 13th, every student at Bainbridge High School, as well as surrounding community members, have the opportunity to experience something similar to a typical day for a community health worker in Malawi. The event, known as Strides in Solidarity, is an annual fundraiser intended to raise awareness of the challenges and incredible efforts that public health workers experience daily to meet the needs of their community.
Designed as a five mile walk or run around the BHS track, the event will ultimately result in a donation to a Partners in Health clinic in Malawi. “We hope for a wonderful turnout of students, athletes, community members, teachers/staff, parents, and especially students with their moms for Mother’s Day weekend,” said club advisor Tricia Corsetti. To maintain inspiration and entertainment, the event will include music, guest speakers, information, games, incentives, snacks, and physical challenges; the event also presents an opportunity for students to gain NHS service hours. Behind the scenes, the BHS Global Health Club is the hosting entity of the event.
“Global Health Club began this fall from student interest and a collaborative effort with my UWHS Global Health 101 course at Eagle Harbor High School and a community group, Partners in Health Engage Bainbridge Island,” said Corsetti. As both a CTE and ASB club, Global Health Club intends to focus students on “educating, advocating, and promoting global health efforts locally and internationally.”
Over 25 students meet on Monday right after school, all with the purpose of learning more about global health issues and the place of public health workers internationally.
Around the island, the club has also worked towards its goals with businesses such as Sunshine Frozen Yogurt. Last fall the club got the shop to feature Partners in Health as their monthly charitable donation. Their proceeds went to redevelopment of village health centers in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
The club works closely with Partners in Health, an organization based in Boston, that aims “to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care.”
“PIH’s motto is ‘Health is a human right.’ Our club does its part to make this motto a reality,” said the club’s student leader, Jackie McVay. “We are high school students, so we can’t go cure malaria, but we can be the ones to stand up, advocate for legislation, educate ourselves, and provide resources/funds.”
This year, the club has focused its energies on maternal and child health care. The club hosted Congressman Derek Kilmer to discuss the politics and process for passing the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, which would “develop innovative ways to fund the programs that would bring new resources to the table, focus on the poorest and most vulnerable communities, and help build country sustainability and ownership” (Save The Children).
“Meeting with Congressman Derek Kilmer to pass a global health bill helps push the US national agenda,” said McVay. “This club has so much potential. The results of our projects are international, national, and communal.” Through advocacy and support for PIH, the club creates a thousandfold impact on the global scene.
In addition to meeting with the congressman, several students also attended the UW Global Health Forum in February where leaders from the UN, Ministries of Health from several countries, and local leaders shared the ups and downs of global health efforts.
Global Health Club meets on Mondays in Mr. Lewis’ room at 1:45-2:30. As global health is an issue that affects any citizen, everyone interested in medicine, social justice, international politics, human rights, and ending sickness/poverty should consider joining.
The Strides in Solidarity event is on Saturday, May 13th, from 12-2pm.