Bainbridge Island Youth Partners In Health Engage Chapter Presents ‘Partners in Poetry’ at BIMA on Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Bainbridge Island Youth Chapter of Partners In Health Engage (BYPIHE) is excited to announce their annual fundraiser for 2024, Partners in Poetry!

Partners in Poetry will be held at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) on March 23rd from 2pm to 3:30pm.

The event, spearheaded by Bainbridge High School (BHS) students and BYPIHE members, Sofia Fleishmann and Saiya McElderry, and funded by Bainbridge Island Poet Laureate Program, will host Roberto Ascalon, award-winning Seattle slam artist, Bainbridge Poet Laureate Michele Bombardier, student poets, an art auction and more.

Partners in Poetry 2024“I was thrilled when Saiya and Sofia suggested the Partners in Health fundraiser partner with the Poet Laureate Program. This happened exactly when we received a donation for youth programming,” said Michele Bombardier. “It felt meant to be. The donation allowed us to bring Roberto Ascalon, a professional teaching artist and spoken word poet, to come to Bainbridge to work with our youth with teaching workshops and to perform at this event.”

Focusing on the empowerment of poetry, all funds raised will support the Maternal Center of Excellence, a maternal hospital that is addressing the extremely high maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone, as well as teaching the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Prior to the event, Roberto Ascalon is putting on a workshop for eight talented BHS poets. “We sent out a sign-up survey and students applied for a spot at the workshop. There are two meetings prior to our fundraiser and at the event,” Sofia explained. “Roberto will put on his own stand-up poetry performance and the students will put on their own piece… The theme itself represents our belief that healthcare is empowering and it is a part of our responsibility to expand its access.” Students will also have the opportunity to submit individual pieces and BYPIHE plans on selecting two to put on stage.

“In addition to Michele Bombardier, Roberto Ascalon and the student poets, we have Joanna Garritano Roger, an ER doctor and poet, speaking on compassion and medicine and sharing some of her work, as well as Chasity Maletesta,” Sofia continued. “Chasity will be helping host the event, she’s worked with us for the past couple years and is incredibly involved with race and equity work on the island.”

BYPIHE Partners in Poetry images courtesy of BYPIHEAlong with the poetry readings, they will be holding an auction with a custom piece focusing on the empowerment theme, created (and donated) by a very talented ceramic student artist, Sophia Mammano. Hidden Gem on Winslow will also be generously donating two copper splashes made by an artist based out of Michigan using Native Michigan Copper as well as a handmade batik fabric Ganesha wall hanging from Bali. “Also included in the auction will be many books of poetry by regional authors such as Sati Mookherjee, Susan Rich, Anne Liu Kellor, and many others,” Michele noted.

Sofia originally got involved with BYPIHE during her sophomore year at BHS, “I really appreciate that this organization is making a real difference in places of the world that need it most and how they build entire communities and healthcare systems for the future in these areas,” she said. “When I graduate, I’d love to continue to be a part of PIH and study public/global health and health equity.”

“Health equity has always been meaningful to me and my family, so advocating for the right to health, especially for those that it is entirely inaccessible, has been something I will always be passionate about,” Saiya explained about her involvement with the group. “I find the Partners in Health philosophy that change comes through partnership as an inspiring way to achieve progress. Sofia and I chose poetry because it has a unifying power and conveys a universal message, the same approach we would like to take with our advocacy. We particularly chose the theme for the evening to be empowerment because poetry is fundamentally about sharing voices, which is intimately connected to human rights like healthcare.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased here: “Partners in Poetry” tickets. The BIMA Bistro will also be open for the event so attendees can purchase small bites and beverages. For more information about the event, visit their website:

PIH Mission – Our mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. By establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in settings of poverty, Partners In Health strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair.

We draw on the resources of the world’s leading medical and academic institutions and on the lived experience of the world’s poorest and sickest communities. At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone.

When our patients are ill and have no access to care, our team of health professionals, scholars, and activists will do whatever it takes to make them well—just as we would do if a member of our own families or we ourselves were ill. – Home – Partners In Health (

For more information on BYPIHE, visit their website: Bainbridge Youth PIHE ( or on Instagram: @bhs_global_health_club

*Images courtesy of BYPIHE

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