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What If? Blog

Sep 8th, 2016

Celebrate the first day of classes at the Father Jeri School

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

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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.

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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.

 



May 5th, 2016

New school brings hope and joy

Dear Friends,

Every trip to Haiti is transformative, but this last one was especially so. After many years of planning, collaboration and hope, we went to Port-au-Prince to witness the naming and ribbon cutting of the new school you helped to build.  The Father Jeri School, named in honor of Father Gerry Jean-Juste (Gerry is Jeri in Creole), is not just a long-held dream come true, but a beacon of a brighter future for the entire community of Ti Plas Kazo.

A moving ceremony
Hundreds of people came together on a Saturday afternoon IMG_2497to join in the celebration. Members of What If and Na Rive cut a beautiful ribbon, shared memories of Father Jeri, and spoke of his love and hope for Haiti and his indomitable fight for social justice. The Ti Plas Kazo community ​lined the halls of the new building and it is hard to describe the energy that connected us around this new symbol of hope. The Father Jeri School will not only provide much-needed education, but intends to raise a new generation of change agents in the community and in Haiti as a whole.

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 We want our students to be examples, to be thinkers, to be leaders. And this will be possible because of the education they will receive in this school. Then, when they graduate, they can be leaders in the community and wherever they go.” Lavarice Gaudin, Na Rive Program Director

Standing tall and proud
The school truly is a sight to behold, beyond compare in the area for its thoughtIMG_2364ful design, including climate and earthquake protection and large classrooms filled with natural light.  As proud as we are to have contributed to its creation, the families of Ti Plas Kazo are even more so.  This building means so much to them: daily nourishment, access to quality education and entrepreneurial development for the next generation, as well as a place to gather, plan and beheard.  It represents opportunities that have never existed before and we now have a chance to help those opportunities come to fruition.

Back to school in a big way
Na Rive is now hard at work planning for the biggest back-to-school season they’ve ever had.  The new 
building makes all this possible, yet ensuring the programs have a strong start and are funded for years to come is now our main priority.  Na Rive has teachers to hire, curriculum to solidify, supplies to buy, uniforms to sew, and of course, a new cafeteria to stock so that meals can be served to students and other hungry children in the neighborhood.  

Your generosity is central to their success. Let’s help Na Rive fill this new building with as much possibility as possible.

For all that you’ve done, and that you continue to do, we say Mesi Anpil! Thank you so much.
With gratitude,
                     
Suzanne signature
Suzanne Alberga

Executive Director

 

P.S. As we near the first day of school in September we’ll have further updates to share. Stay tuned!

 



Mar 23rd, 2016

Celebrating 16 years of hope and millions of meals served

Dear Friends,

P1020857Spring has arrived and with it comes our gratitude for another year of your generous support. Thanks to your ongoing donations, our partner Na Rive has been able to serve nutritious meals to the children of Ti Plas Kazo for the last 16 years.

That’s more than four million times that young girls and boys have been nourished, parents have felt a sense of relief, and the community has come together.

And now, more than ever, our resolve to support the food program is crucial to the future of this community. A drought that has hit Haiti over the last three years has driven the country, where more than half of the people depend on agriculture, deeper into poverty and hunger.  This coupled with the recent devastating effects of El Niño make your contributions even more important in the lives of these children.

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Families count on us. When it’s the only meal a child will eat today, parents will do anything to get here.
– Lavarice Gaudin, Na Rive Program Director

Mom walks with 3 kids
These meals mean so much for families. While in Haiti last month, I met Marie Maudeline Pierre. She has three daughters, the youngest of whom is three months old. With no income to support herself, she walks five kilometers to the Na Rive food program every day so that her girls can get a hot meal and she can stay healthy to nurse her baby. 10 kilometers, on foot, under the blazing sun, with a baby in her arms and two young children by her side.

 

Reaching children beyond mealtime
Marie’s situation is not unique. Which is why Na Rive has started experimenting with new ways to meet the needs of the community. Children
 who cannot make it to mealtimes are invited to visit an informal pantry, where they can collect dry goods to be cooked at home. Not only can more children be reached this ​way, but we’re also helping families eat together, so they can nourish their bond along with their bodies. It’s a great example of Na Rive’s remarkable resourcefulness — and the benefits of working directly with such an effective and entrepreneurial local partner. Every penny is spent wisely, with creativity and kindness at heart.

WS kids at table

Feeding the future
Each meal at the food program costs about $0.65. Whethe
r you can help in providing many bags of rice, beans and local produce, or just a few plates of food, know that your contribution makes a vital difference in the life of this vibrant community. Together, we’re helping feed a better future for the children of Ti Plas Kazo.
 
 
Piti piti na rive ” — little by little we will get there.  One plate, one smile, one child at a time.

With gratitude,
                     
Suzanne signature
Suzanne Alberga

Executive Director