Huntington Connection for Hope Through Health Fundraiser
Jennifer Schechter has gone from the halls of Huntington High School and the Blue Devil girls' lacrosse team to the energetic leader of an organization providing hope and health to impoverished residents of a land on the other side of the world.
After earning an undergraduate degree at Georgetown University in 2004, the Huntington High School graduate completed an assignment with the Peace Corps and is now serving as executive director of Hope Through Health, an international organization that offers technical and financial assistance to community-directed health initiatives in West Africa.
A group of Huntington community members will come together at the Huntington Yacht Club for a fundraising party and silent auction to benefit HTH on Saturday, November 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets to the event are priced at $75 per person and include food and refreshments.
While serving in the Peace Corps from 2004 to 2006, Ms. Schechter met Kevin Fiori, Jr., also a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, who later co-founded HTH and is the organization's associate director. Mr. Fiori, who is a third year medical school student at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the Huntington alum were married in June 2008.
Ms. Schechter earned a master's degree in social work (MSW) last June at the University of Washington and hopes to complete a second master's degree in public health (MPH) next June.
"We're very excited about this year's event," Ms. Schechter said about the Nov. 20th fundraiser. "It has been a tough year for Hope Through Health financially, but the Huntington event has raised over $70,000 over the past four years, so we have high hopes that this year will be as successful as years past."
Hope Through Health continues to provide essential services in Togo. "We are currently providing comprehensive care and treatment to over 2,400 adults and children living with HIV/AIDS," Ms. Schechter said. "Our community partner is strong and has received increasing support from Togo's Ministry of Health over the past year. We continue to be inspired by their daily commitment and endless energy in spite of the financial challenges we are facing."
The evening is expected attract a crowd of more than 125, most of them Huntington residents and business leaders. Past events have been dominated by Huntington High School alumni. Even Mary Paar, Ms. Schechter's former Blue Devil lacrosse coach, has attended.
Local merchants, businesses and organizations have offered their support, too. Four previous annual events raised about $60,000 and there are high hopes this year's event will be even more successful.
As a student at Huntington High School, Ms. Schechter's activities included participating in the student government, the HOPE (Huntington Outreach Peer Educators) club and four years on both the Blue Devil soccer and lacrosse teams. She also served with the Huntington Youth Bureau as a peer educator and sat on that organization's advisory board.
HTH has committed to using 98 cents of every dollar raised at the Nov. 20h event to providing lifesaving treatment to people living with AIDS in Africa. For more information on HTH and its activities, visit www.hthglobal.org.
Hope Through Health spends virtually every dollar it raises on its programs in Togo and is funded largely by small individual donations. Most supporters pledge $20 per month, which covers costs associated with treating one patient in Togo for an entire year.
For more information on the event or to reserve tickets, contact Evie Schechter at (516) 885-3203 or by e-mail at: email@example.com. If the event doesn't sell-out in advance, tickets will be available at the door.
The success of the Nov. 20th fundraiser is critical to the continuing mission of HTH. Past events have provided enormous assistance to a land where a single dollar goes very far.
The Huntington Yacht Club is located at 95 East Shore Road in Huntington.