I really enjoy when I can sit down with our members and find out more about who they are and what they’re working on. To that end, I was delighted to sit down with Opodz’ first member, Vivien Luk and find out more about her work as Executive Director of the non-profit group Team Tassy.
According to Vivien, Team Tassy is a job creation/ job placement organization that works primarily in Haiti with the community of Menelas. The community is comprised of about 3,000 people and Team Tassy is currently working with about a tenth of the population. They employ a “Block by Block” approach, working with individual families at a time. Their goal is to expand and grow until they’ve worked with everyone in the community.
Team Tassy was founded after the earthquake in Haiti when their founder, Ian, met a kid named Tassy. Tassy had a life-threatening tumor on his face and turned to Ian for help. A year and four surgeries later, he recovered. The fledgling organization realized that Tassy didn’t just need surgery, he needed access. And in order to gain access, he had to become independent. This meant he needed a dignified job, education and more.
Team Tassy’s philosophy really grew out of working with Tassy and his family. Vivien puts it this way, “The idea is that we can’t just provide one service, but really work with the whole person and then get them to the point where they can get a dignified job that sustains them and allows them to be independent on their own.”
Vivien originally worked out of a co-working space in Pittsburgh before relocating to Los Angeles. She stumbled upon Opodz while it was still under construction and remains our first and longest running member (literally! Last month she went on a 230 mile “Run Across Haiti”). When asked what she likes about co-working and Opodz, Vivien replies, “The flexibility, the ability to meet other people working in similar fields and building a community around our work. And just personally, it’s a great location here and I like the good people!”