Water balloon fight to aid Haiti's impoverished

Megan Guza
| Saturday, July 14, 2012, 9:50 p.m.

The forecast calls for nothing but sun, but things will be anything but dry on Saturday in Point State Park during The Great American Water Balloon Fight.

The event benefits the charity, Team Tassy, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty in Haiti by reaching out through everyday people.

The idea for water balloons came from Team Tassy board Chairman Ian Rosenberger's belief that giving and helping should be fun.

“We have this philosophy that giving should be a joy,”said Rosenberger, 30. “A lot of times, giving is about avoiding guilt, not joy. We decided that anything we did from here on out would be about joy.”

Rather than a free-for-all, participants have four teams to choose from, with each hosted by a Pittsburgh FM radio personality.

“It's more fun to compete with people, against people,” said Vivien Luk, 29, executive director for Team Tassy.

The teams are hosted Abby Krizner of 105.9, The X; Cathy Schodde of KISS 96.1; Mike Dougherty and Bob Mason of the KISS morning show; and Randy Baumann of WDVE 102.5.

“They're competing on the air, and participants are starting to get competitive on Twitter,” Rosenberger said.

Team Tassy began with Rosenberger, who placed third on “Survivor: Paulu” in 2005, aiding in the Haiti relief effort in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. There he met Tassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who had a cancerous tumor on his face that was slowly killing him. He asked Rosenberger for help.

“Not having any idea what else to say, I said yes,” Rosenberger said. “What else do you say when someone asks you for help?”

Rosenberger and the people of Pittsburgh raised nearly $100,000 to get Tassy to Pittsburgh for surgery.

Team Tassy works with individual families until they are completely out of poverty. They help with education and job placement.

The Great American Water Balloon Fight will help fund those efforts.

Next year the event will make its debut in Los Angeles, where the team is planning to open a second office. From there, he said, they hope to double the number of cities each summer.

“We want this to be our March of Dimes,” Rosenberger said. “We want to do this every year. This is the city we love and the work that we love, and we're helping people.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5644 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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