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What If? Blog

Dec 30th, 2016

Last chance to make a 2016 tax-deductible donation

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,​East view school 2

Bòn Ane! (“Happy New Year!” in Creole.)

2016 has surprised us all with some difficult challenges, but it has also brought its fair share of wonder and joy. With your generous support, the long-held dream of the Father Jeri School became a reality.

children eating 3
And with your continued support, we can offer food, education, and hope to generations of Haitian children to come. Thank you for remembering the What If? Foundation in your year-end giving. Every time we look at these faces, we are reminded of what a critical difference your donations make for the families of Ti Plas Kazo.

To make a year-end tax-deductible donation, click here:

Make a Donation

Lava and suz at new school feb close up 2If you have already sent a gift to support the food and education programs, know how deeply grateful we are for your support.

On behalf of the What If? Foundation, our Haitian partner, Na Rive, and the children we seek to lovingly serve, we thank you for your generosity and wish you a peaceful, happy and healthy New Year!

 

Suzanne

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director


Dec 22nd, 2016

Share the holiday spirit!

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,

We hope this message finds you in good cheer. As Christmas Day approaches, many of us are in prep mode: cooking, baking, and wrapping gifts. The same is true for Na Rive. Every year on Christmas Day, they serve a special meal to over 1,000 children in Ti Plas Kazo.

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boy eatin women cutting veggies

 

For most, this meal is their only present and usually the only sustenance for the day. It means the world to them. It means they are loved and have not been forgotten.For children who cannot make it to the meal, Na Rive staff are tying up gifts of rice and beans to take home, so families can share Christmas dinner together.
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“The holidays are a moment of sharing. We continue to share and celebrate with our community – our brothers and sisters.”
-Lavarice Gaudin, Na Rive Program Director
Meanwhile, the students and teachers at the Father Jeri School are organizing a special party to celebrate the end of their first term, and the end of testing.
class of 8 yer olds
It is a time of much joy, love and gratitude in Ti Plas Kazo. We send our heartfelt thanks to you for bringing so much cheer to the lives of these children, on Christmas Day and every day.If you haven’t yet donated this year, we invite you to share the holiday spirit. Your support means more children can receive the gifts of food, education, and hope.
Make a Donation
On behalf of everyone in Ti Plas Kazo, we wish you much health and happiness in 2017.
thank you kids
With gratitude,
The What If? Foundation board of directors, staff,
and our Haitian partners, Na Rive


Dec 18th, 2016

Why I give – Our youngest donor

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,

I can’t wait to share this letter from one of our most dedicated donors. She’s also one of our youngest! Erin Manuel is 14, and has been raising money for the What If? Foundation and Haitian children for seven years. (You read that correctly: since she was seven.) She is an inspiration to her peers, and to all of us. 

Erin accompanied us to Haiti to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Father Jeri School this last April. I’ve asked her to share her experience there, and what motivates her to keep supporting the What If? Foundation.

Thank you for your continued support this holiday season.

With gratitude,

SuzanneSignature_2_1024
Suzanne Alberga

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“Mwen rele Erin” (My name is Erin). “Kijan ou rele?” (What is your name?). I practiced these Creole phrases over and over on the plane this past April, exhilarated to be on the way to Haiti for the very first time.

Erin Fundraising with goodsI am 14 years old and have been raising money for Haiti since the massive earthquake in 2010, when I was seven. It really moved me. I just ran to my room, dumped out my piggy bank, gave it to my mom and said “here’s $3.08 cents, can you give this to Haiti?” Since then, I’ve spent many Saturdays at my local farmers market selling my artwork for this cause. I also speak at schools and universities about the conditions in Haiti and how people can make a difference in the world. So far I’ve raised over ​$16,000.

I was invited to Haiti by the What If? Foundation last April to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new school in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood. I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was going! I would finally be able to see the place and meet the people I’d kept in my thoughts for years—I’d get to visit the new school and volunteer at the food program and meet the children served by What If and Na Rive.

The trip was absolutely amazing. I can’t count the number of times I cried—just seeing Haiti and meeting the people there took my breath away. It was wonderful to get to know the staff of Na Rive, who work so hard administering the food and education programs. I kept thinking about what I’d read about Father Jeri—how he always had a plan: “first, we make sure the children are fed, then we educate them”—and that’s exactly what has happened. Together we have done this for the children of Ti Plas Kazo.
erin-more-kids-pink-building

While I was in Haiti, someone said something to me I’ll never forget: “The problem we solve in Haiti may seem like the tip of the iceberg, but it means everything to the children we reach.” I remember it because of its truth. Because the sight of a child’s eyes lighting up when you hand them a bowl of food is the most precious and meaningful thing in the world. Donating money might not seem like a big deal to us, but to the children who receive a meal or go to school, it is everything.

I am from a very small town in the mountains of North Carolina. From my visit to Haiti I learned that I am also an important member of a team. It takes all of us, from the staff of Na Rive who run the food and educational programs, to every donor who does what she or he can to offer support, and the staff at the What If? Foundation who make it all happen — we’re all in this together. Thank you for being a member of this team.

Mwen rele Erin. Kijan ou rele?

By Erin Manuel



Dec 1st, 2016

Give food, education and hope

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

I recently returned from Haiti, and there’s someone I’d like you to meet.

christi-age4

This is Christi. She’s four years old, and a preschool student enrolled at the newly opened Father Jeri School. Neither of her parents had the chance to receive an education, so knowing she has this opportunity gives them so much hope for the future.

And that hope is thanks to you.

Your support is creating so much more than meals, books, and classrooms — though it is certainly providing for all of those essentials. Your donations are seeding hope and prosperity in Haiti. For students, parents, teachers, and the entire community of Ti Plas Kazo.

imj-3-year-old-teacherMarie also spends her days at the Father Jeri School, as a teacher for the youngest children, aged three. I wish you could see her enthusiasm — it’s infectious! Marie joined the Father Jeri School because she believes in its vision to prepare these young children to become successful leaders in the community. She sees herself as an agent of positive change, for her students and for her country.

During this holiday season, please help us support more students and teachers at the Father Jeri School.

  • $1 provides lunch for a student or family member.
  • $25 buys a school uniform.
  • $100 pays for books and supplies for the year.
  • $350 covers the cost of a year’s tuition for grades K–5.
  • $500 pays for a student in 6–8th grades.

The Father Jeri School is reaching the end of its first semester, and already it has had a strong effect on Ti Plas Kazo. Na Rive tells us that the school has become a cornerstone of the neighborhood. The students and teachers are filled with excitement and positive energy. Parents are hopeful and reassured. And the entire community now has a space to come together — to connect, to learn, to share a meal, and to take shelter from the aftermath of the storm.

Over the last 16 years, the What If? Foundation has stood alongside our partners through the devastating earthquake of 2010, political turmoil, drought, disease, and now the destruction of Hurricane Matthew. Thanks to your donations and Na Rive’s devotion and resourcefulness, we are able to provide immediate and effective relief. We will always respond with our partners in times of crisis. But our mission runs much deeper than that.

Together, we are standing with Na Rive and all Haitians as they build the strength and resilience to thrive, no matter what comes their way. 

We’ve always appreciated the wisdom of the Haitian proverb and our motto: piti piti na rive. Little by little, we will arrive. Seemingly impossible problems are rarely solved with sweeping solutions. Change happens one child, one meal, one family, one school, one community at a time. With your support of the Father Jeri School and Na Rive’s longstanding food program, lasting change is happening in Ti Plas Kazo. Every single day.

It’s with gratitude in our hearts that we continue our mission. We hope you’ll continue to join us.

Wishing you a holiday season filled with gratitude and hope,

 

SuzanneAlberga
Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director


Nov 14th, 2016

Updates from Haiti: your compassion at work

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,

It has been an emotional week. At a time when Americans feel more divided than ever, it is important to remind ourselves of the incredible power of compassion to heal and unite. Your support of the What If? Foundation proves this to me every day.

I have just returned from Haiti. There are no words to adequately thank you for your generous donations during this very difficult time post-Mathew. I witnessed first-hand that every penny is being put to vital use.

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I traveled to the south to visit two of the cities that bore he brunt of the destruction. Na Rive’s Program Director, Lavarice Gaudin, used his extensive networks, power of persuasion, and leadership skills to set up a kitchen in the city of Les Cayes. Here volunteers cook hundreds of meals several times a week with the supplies you’ve funded, and then send the meals to the communities most in need. Lavarice is also partnering with Dr. Piard, the same doctor who volunteers at the Father Jeri School, to mobilize doctors and nurses for mobile clinics there.

lava-meals-in-cayesOf course there is never enough to go around – this is truly a drop in the bucket of need – but the government is out of sight, and larger non-profit organizations are facing real struggles getting their supplies to the people. We feel truly fortunate to be able to mobilize relief efforts so quickly and effectively thanks to our unique partnership with Na Rive.

Please consider making a donation today. $1.25 funds a single hot meal. $1,875 funds a kitchen for one day.

Make a Donation button

cp-school-no-roofA poor community to begin with, Les Cayes has seen most of its housing severely damaged or totally destroyed. People are taking refuge from the rain in local school buildings – where the mobile clinics and fooddistribution are taking place. I watched as more than 400 people received medical assistance from the team, followed by a much-needed meal. For so many, it was their only sustenance that day.

We then traveled one hour north to Camp Perrin. Once a small picturesque town on the banks of a river lined with palm trees, birds and beautiful views. Now there is nary a home or tree standing. The desperation here feels somehow less urgent — until the food arrives.

cp-nurse-pressureIn spite of witnessing the relief our efforts brought these communities, I was overcome by a deep feeling of helplessness. There is so much to do, and so many in need. But Dr. Piard assured me, that beyond the vital assistance we provide, our compassion means a lot to the people we are serving. In their darkest hour, we are there standing by their side. It made me proud to be able to represent all of you, who care so much, and feel compelled to act from so far away. With the help of our friends at Na Rive, our compassion crosses borders and arrives where it’s needed most.

We’ll continue to keep you posted. In the meantime, I wish everyone peace, hope, and kindness. Piti piti na rive.

With gratitude,

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director