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What If? Blog

Mar 26th, 2015

If you visited the food program today…

Dear Friends,

Having just returned from Haiti, the images at the food program are fresh in my mind and close to my heart.

If you visited the food program today…children eating 2

You would see hundreds and hundreds of children – sisters and brothers, toddlers and teenagers – all eating nutritious plates of rice and beans with a vegetable sauce.

You would see “Happy 15th Anniversary” signs celebrating 15 years of meals!  The first meals were served in March 2000, shortly after our founder Margaret Trost met Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste and heard his vision of a community-based food program for the children of Ti Plas Kazo.  Thanks to your donations, the meals haven’t stopped since.

children eating 3 2You would hear an enthusiastic prayer of gratitude being sung just before the meal begins and then you would hear the sound of spoons scraping up every last grain of rice.  For most of the children, this is their only meal of the day.

You would watch the devoted Na Rive cooking team dish up plate after plate as the second and third seating of children takes place.  Their work to prepare this meal started early this morning.big smile

You would see the smiles of several young girls who were recently added to the food program team. They’ve eaten at the food program for years and are now volunteering each day to help serve the meal.  They told me they love having the opportunity to give back.

You would see relief on the faces of all the mothers feeding their babies.

mother with child

You would be in what we affectionately call the “pink building”, a building that has been rented for the education programs and that recently started housing the food program.  We are so grateful that extra space inside this building became available, allowing the food program to relocate temporarily. The timing couldn’t be better as the construction of a new kitchen/cafeteria and school building (our “Building the Dream” project) will start this spring!

And finally, you would see your donations in loving action bringing nourishment and hope to everyone present.  Without you, these life-giving meals would not be possible.

On behalf of our partner Na Rive and everyone at What If, thank you for your prayers and ongoing support.

SuzanneSignature

 

 

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director



Jan 13th, 2015

Watch MSNBC’s interview of Margaret Trost

MSNBC News Nation with Tamron HallMSNBC’s Tamron Hall of News Nation, interviews our beloved Founder, Margaret Trost, about the impact of the What If? Foundation.

If the video below doesn’t load immediately, visit the “Born in the U.S.A.” series site here.

Mesi Anpil (thank you so much) for your ongoing support and encouragement,

WILogo-BlueAvenirBlueThe What If team

 



Jan 12th, 2015

A letter from Haiti on the 5th anniversary of the earthquake

Dear Friend of What If,
 

On this day, which marks the 5th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, we hold the people of Haiti especially close to our hearts.Below is a letter written to What If donors by Lavarice Gaudin, the program director for Na Rive, our Haitian partner. In it he shares reflections on the earthquake, our partnership, and the life-giving work that has been possible thanks to your support.

Lavarice with Margaret and Suzanne

We are deeply grateful for our partnership with Na Rive, which offers a trustworthy and effective way to provide hope and opportunity to children in Port-au-Prince.  And we are grateful for your encouragement, your prayers, and your ongoing donations that are so crucial for this work to continue.

Piti piti na rive (little by little we will arrive),
margaret_signature_dark_black
Suzanne

Margaret Trost
Founder,
What If? Foundation

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director,
What If? Foundation


Bonjou! Hello! friends of the What If? Foundation,
 Lavarice Gaudin 
I write to you from Haiti and thank you for your support and love.Five years have passed since the earthquake that shook our country and broke our hearts. We remember it like it was yesterday.

On January 12th, the members of Na Rive will hold a prayer vigil to remember and honor the 300,000 people who lost their lives on that day. And we will remember in our prayers all of you who helped us.

The Haitian people remain strong and resourceful. We have deep faith and continue to hold onto hope for the future.If you came to Port-au-Prince, you would see the rubble has been cleared and some new government buildings and hotels have been built, and also some new roads.
Homeless mother outside tent But most people who lost their homes are still without a safe place to live. More and more people are hungry every day because they cannot afford to buy rice. The cost of living keeps going up. School tuition keeps going up. There is growing frustration throughout the country because people thought things would improve by now.But you have made such a difference in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood. You have been with us and alongside us — before, during and after the earthquake.
4 What If Scholarship Students
When What If partnered with us almost fifteen years ago, we were able to start serving hot, nutritious meals to the children; and then you made it possible for hundreds of parents to send their children to school.Because of the great food and education programs you support year after year, the children and their parents have been able to make it through all these difficult times.

We see this every day in their eyes, and in their strength, courage and determination to have a better future.We do this work with all of our hearts. We believe love is the most powerful force.

 Rosie, Na Rive staff, serving with love 
There are so many who need help and we cannot help them all, but whoever is cooking the food, like Rosie here, they do it with love. Whoever is working with the students, they do it with love.And so, as we enter the New Year, we will continue, with your help, to feed the children, and teach them and guide them. We want to help them become leaders in this community.

We hope you will support the What If? Foundation again this year and continue to pray for us.

The children of Ti Plas Kazo join me and the rest of the Na Rive staff and volunteers in thanking you for standing with us all these years.

Young boy in school
Piti piti na rive,
  Lavarice Gaudin

   Na Rive Program Manager

 



Dec 31st, 2014

Still time to make a 2014 tax-deductible donation!

Dear Friends,

Bòn Ane! ("Happy New Year!" in Creole.)

As 2014 comes to a close, thank you for remembering the What If? Foundation in your year-end giving. We’re reminded every time we look at the photos below of what a critical difference your donations make in the lives of countless girls and boys in Port-au-Prince.

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

Make a Donation

And if you have already sent in a gift to support the food and education programs, know how deeply grateful we are for your support.

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

margaret_signature_dark_black
Suzanne

Margaret Trost
Founder, What If? Foundation
 

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director, What If? Foundation
 

Children eating at food program A scholarship recipient in action
 Group of students in afterschool class  Na Rive cooking team at work


Dec 22nd, 2014

Your Donation’s Impact: A First-Timer’s Perspective

Dear Friend of What If,

A few weeks ago when I visited Port-au-Prince, our newest board member, Kate Doherty, came with me. It was Kate’s first time in Haiti.

After our trip, Kate described to me her experiences at the food and education programs and with our partner Na Rive. Her perspective is powerful and offers fresh insight into the miracles taking place in the Ti Plas Kazo community thanks to your donations. I asked Kate to share her thoughts with you in the letter below.

Thank you for supporting the What If? Foundation and Na Rive this holiday season.

donate button

Margaret with Lavarice Gaudin & Florencia

Wishing you peace and joy,

“Margaret”

Margaret Trost
Founder, What If? Foundation


 

Dear What If donors,

Rosie with plates

Lavarice Gaudin
My background in Catholic Social Justice has brought me into contact with many nonprofits and justice communities around the world. Having volunteered in organizations in Zambia, Cambodia, Honduras, Mexico and Palestine, I’ve seen amazing work, and have also seen well meaning people seriously miss the mark. 

Without hesitation, I can say that I’m deeply impressed and inspired by the collaboration and good work of Na Rive and the What If? Foundation.

Na Rive, led by Lavarice Gaudin, is a rare gem in the nonprofit world. Its staff – from those who lead the after-school program to the cooks who prepare the meals – are people from the neighborhood, with a vision and commitment to make their country a better place to live.

I saw why the programs are so effective; because Na Rive knows how best to address their community’s needs, and they do this with innovation, hard work, and a lot of heart.
Scholarship recipients

 Sisters at the food program

 
I met a promising new generation of leaders – Na Rive recipients of What If scholarships, who are using their new-found educational tools to give back to their communities.

At the food program, I saw hundreds of hungry children and mothers with infants. Lavarice said that despite daily challenges to serve as many as possible, there is always hope, always a new idea, and always a community member willing to step up and do the work.

And thankfully — because of your generosity, when those ideas arise, and those people step up, there are resources to support them.
This is the most powerful example of solidarity. A friendship – which started with Margaret Trost and Father Gerry Jean-Juste 15 years ago – has now grown to include many friendships among the hard-working visionaries at Na Rive and the What If staff, board and donors who help to make these visions a reality.

I am deeply grateful for the time I spent in Haiti, and to have witnessed first hand the impact What If and Na Rive are having in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood.
Gratefully yours,
Kate Doherty

Kate Doherty

What If donor & board member

Oakland, CA

Kate Doherty