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What If? Blog

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


Sep 8th, 2016

Celebrate the first day of classes at the Father Jeri School

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

imj-first-day-benner

After six years of dreaming, planning, and building, the Father Jeri School is welcoming its first students this month. We are so proud to share this milestone with you, and so grateful for the support you provided to make it possible. The building itself is an incredible accomplishment, but it’s what will take place inside that has the power to change children’s lives.

 

“Without the What If? Foundation, I would not be able to go to school. I am grateful, because education is essential in my country if you want to be a person who does great things.”       
-Samuel

While the beginning of the school year in Haiti is a time of celebration for some, it’s a time of sadness for others. More than 50% of school-aged children are not able to go to school – only 10% of Haitian schools are public, and most families can’t afford tuition at private schools.  

With your help, we’ve funded over 1800 scholarships for students at local schools since 2001. With the opening of the Fr. Jeri School, we are able to extend the opportunity for education to many more students. Please help us to continue to support these children.

$25 buys a school uniform.
$100 pays for books and supplies for the year.little-girl-pink-shirt
$350 covers the cost of a year’s tuition for grades K-5.
$500 pays for a student in 6-8th grades.

Our Haitian partner, Na Rive, has established the administration and curriculum to offer classes from kindergarten through middle school. With adequate funding, Fr. Jeri School can offer life-changing education to more than 250 students.

Thank you for sharing our commitment to these children, and our hope for Haiti’s future. We can’t wait to share more stories and photos from the first days of class.

Piti piti na rive,

Suzanne signature
Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director



Aug 16th, 2016

The Joy of Summer Camp in Haiti

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,

summer camp children

During these long summer days, you can hear laughter and the buzz of children in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood as hundreds of campers participate in the Na Rive Summer Camp. Parents are so grateful to have a positive, protected place for their kids to learn and have fun. Opportunities like summer camp are all but unheard of in Haiti, which is what makes this summer program so truly special.

 

“What I love most about summer camp is the chance to spend all my time learning new things and being creative. Every day is so exciting! I never imagined I would have the chance to play the keyboard and create my own music with others. I feel blessed to be a part of something so special. Most children in Haiti do not have the chance.” Carlette, age 13

 

Thanks to your generosity, the What If? Foundation has funded this 6-week community day camp for children ages 5-18 since 2003. It is run by our devoted partner Na Rive and gives 650 girls and boys the opportunity to create, to explore, and to celebrate being children, while learning income-producing skills. Na Rive describes the camp as life-changing for the children.


Help us continue to make this beloved 

camp possibly by making a donation today.

Make a Donation button

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Young campers spend the day being kids: drawing, painting, and learning arts and crafts. Teenagers register for one class of their choosing, so they have the whole summer to develop an income-producing skill that helps them build confidence and contribute to their families. Subjects include music, cooking, calligraphy, sewing, English, computer science and videography. All campers enjoy healthy lunches from the food program each day, and plenty of time to exercise and play games.

The camp is free, although families are invited to make a small donation to help cover costs, which many strive to do as an expression of their gratitude.

This program would not be possible without your support. Thank you for your commitment to the children of the Ti Plas Kazo community in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

With gratitude and hope,

SuzanneAlberga

 

 

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director

P.S. Please consider joining our Monthly Giving Circle.  As a Monthly Giving Circle member, you join a special group of What If friends whose monthly gifts provide a reliable, steady stream of support that is critical to sustaining the food and education programs every month of the year.

 



Jun 20th, 2016

Help the New School Open This Fall

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

I wish you could have been with us on our trip to Haiti in April to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the Father Jeri School — the beautiful new school made possible by What If? Foundation donors and the hard work of our Haitian partner, Na Rive.

new school lining hallways

When the ribbon cutting ceremony began, there was a buzz of excitement as hundreds of neighborhood kids, who had been waiting patiently for some time, lined the school balconies shoulder-to-shoulder to watch the celebration. Though the speeches were a mix of Creole, French and English, the sentiment was crystal clear — there is so much excitement for what the new Father Jeri School represents!

Members of the community who spoke that afternoon shared that this new school is a beacon of hope for the future. Named after Father Gerard Jean-Juste, the school brings to life his vision of providing quality education and leadership development for the youth in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.

And none of this would be possible without supporters like you.boy blowing on rice 2

It started 16 years ago with a handful of donors providing the resources for a community-based food program that fed 500 girls and boys on day per week. Now, meals are served to 1,200 children five days a week, 154 children receive school scholarships, and hundreds more attend an after-school program and a summer camp.

With the new Fr. Jeri School opening soon, there’s a new opportunity for children in Ti Plas Kazo to receive a quality education, one that will help transform their lives, their neighborhood, and their country.

Please help us support this new school and the children who will be nourished through it by making a donation today.

donate button

Your support will go directly toward:
     – School scholarships
     – Hot meals, five days a week, served from the new school cafeteria
     – Teachers’ salaries for kindergarten through eighth grade
     – Curriculum development
     – Books, art and school supplies
     – School uniforms and much, much more

Berthony teachingDuring the ribbon cutting ceremony, four Na Rive members who had received school scholarships paid for by the What If? Foundation spoke to the large crowd about the power of education. Berthony, Nathalie, Katty and Bergomy have grown up to become a teacher, a physician, an accountant and a video journalist. Each of them remains committed to helping transform their community. Their lives demonstrate the difference your support makes, one student at a time.

As Na Rive prepares for the new school year, I hope you will join us as we continue to invest in the future of the children in Ti Plas Kazo.

I also hope you’ll take a look at our Annual Report so you can see what we accomplished together in 2015 and the tremendous difference your support makes.

On behalf of the children of Ti Plas Kazo, we say Mesi Anpil – which is Creole for thank you so much for being part of this important work.

With gratitude,

Suzanne signature
Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director

 

P.S. Please consider joining our Monthly Giving Circle.  As a Monthly Giving Circle member, you join a special group of What If friends whose monthly gifts provide a reliable, steady stream of support that is critical to sustaining the food and education programs every month of the year.