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What If? Blog

Nov 20th, 2014

Back from Haiti! An invitation and messages from the children

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

Four weeks ago, as I helped pass out plates at the food program, there were hundreds of girls and boys sitting shoulder-to-shoulder awaiting their meal. Two boys happily eatingMost were under 12. Mothers and their babies sat off to the side, where it was a little quieter.

As the Na Rive cooks dished up the day’s food — paid for by donors like you — the little ones waited as patiently as they could, restless with hunger. This meal was “tout bagay,” they told me.  “Everything” for them. “If it weren’t for this program, I would have no food today,” Walenton whispered.


Florencia, a ten-year-old, told me she loves the rice with bean sauce Margaret Trost with Florencia and Lavariceand has been coming “as long as I can remember.”

With Thanksgiving near, in the spirit of gratitude and sharing …

I invite you to help us keep funding these life-giving meals by clicking below. 
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It’s been almost 15 years since our partners in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood of Port-au-Prince served the first food program meal.  Walenton, Florencia and most of the other children who gather to eat every weekday weren’t even born then. 
Group of women team cooking
But thanks to your loving support, the seeds planted all those years ago have grown into a vital community-based program that provides nutrition and hope for the most vulnerable, day in and day out.

Your support this holiday season will also fuel a vibrant education program that includes school scholarships, an after-school program, and summer camp.

Economic club member

“We are building the next generation of Haitians,” Lavarice Gaudin, Na Rive‘s Program Director proudly shared.

Veronica told me she loves math and dreams to be an engineer. “I saw what happened during the earthquake. Haiti needs good houses, well engineered.”

Vanessa said she wants to be a psychologist. “The earthquake caused so much trauma.  I want to help people have a better life.” 

Other scholarship recipients were active in Na Rive’s economic development club, which just launched its first community cooperative selling small bags of Haitian rice. 

Vanessa proudly standingPaula summed it up when she said, “Students are the hope of the world.”  Indeed.

Download your copy of our Fall Flyer our attempt to capture the spirit of such remarkable people.

Throughout my trip, my heart was touched over and over again by the children – by their resilience and courage. I was also deeply inspired by our partners – the members of Na Rive – whose vision, devotion, and innovation have developed the programs we fund into powerful vehicles of hope and opportunity. “Little by little, child by child, we are helping transform the community,” they told me. 

And each day I was in Haiti, I felt deeply connected and grateful to you, knowing that these programs would not exist without your generosity and compassion.
Thank you for your support this holiday season, for your prayers, and for believing in the power of small steps. 

Piti piti na rive”, little by little we will arrive,  



Margaret Trost

Founder, What If? Foundation

Nov 4th, 2014

Classic Woman Awards 2014

Margaret Trost, What If’s amazing founder, has been recognized by Traditional Home Magazine for the 2014 Classic Woman Awards. Join 1 million readers in learning more in the November/December 2014 issue, or just watch this moving video that was shown at the awards ceremony on October 27, 2014 in New York City.


Sep 24th, 2014

Sharing the Harvest, from the Napa Valley to Ti Plas Kazo

What If’s work was profiled in a Napa Valley Register story on the upcoming Plate by Plate in the Garden fundraiser. We’re so grateful for our friends in St Helena, and for this beautiful article! Go here to read all about it.


Sep 8th, 2014

“The Bread of Learning” – meet two of our students

Dear Friends,

With school in Haiti starting this week, we’d like to introduce you to two students whose lives you are changing thanks to your support of the What If? Foundation scholarship fund.

DSC_0268_3Jean Kelly is entering 3rd grade.  He lives in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood with his mother and siblings and attends the food program regularly.

“This year, once again, the What If? Foundation is sending me to school.  I feel very proud, because it is very, very difficult for the poor to pay for school.  For the past five years you have helped me to obtain the bread of learning, which means so much to me and my family.  Thank you.”

Delia is excited to be entering high school:


“This scholarship is a huge gift from heaven. I am working very hard to excel in my classes to become a woman ready to serve society. Thank you so much to everyone!”

The opportunity to receive an education is something that most children in Haiti do not have.  With only 10% of schools in Haiti being “public”, children without the money to pay “private” school tuition are left out. Only about 25% of students are able to continue beyond 6th grade.

But student by student, this statistic is changing in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood – thanks to you and our partnership with Na Rive. This week, nearly 180 girls and boys are putting on their uniforms and beginning the 2014/15 academic year.

Please help us continue to fund these life-changing scholarships by making a donation today.  Tuition for elementary students averages $350/year. High school tuition averages $500/year.

The Na Rive education team mentors each scholarship recipient, provides additional support through the after-school program, and involves parents to maximize their children’s academic success. The impact is powerful — over 95% of the students we sponsor each year advance to the next grade or graduate!

IMG_2247Education is “the bread of learning” as Jean Kelly says. It is also considered one of the most critical factors in eliminating poverty and creating a more just and peaceful world. Thank you for making this school year possible for Jean Kelly, for Delia and for so many other children in Ti Plas Kazo.

With gratitude for your ongoing support and commitment,

SuzanneSignature        margaret_signature_dark_black
Suzanne Alberga                      Margaret Trost
Executive Director                    Founder

Aug 5th, 2014

“Camp is so very exciting!” – Summer Camp 2014

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,
IMG_0004 2
We are delighted to report that summer camp is in full swing with over 650 children from the Ti Plas Kazo community participating.

For the 12th year in a row, children ages 5 – 18 are enjoying seven weeks of fun and learning through classes in art, cooking, embroidery, music, calligraphy, computer, English, and more.  They also receive a nutritious lunch from the food program.  All this is possible thanks to your donations and the dedication of our partner in Haiti, Na Rive.

“Camp is so very exciting because these children do not have anything else in the summer. At camp, they can socialize with kids they do not know, and learn new skills in the process. At the end of the 7 weeks, they show everything that they’ve made to their families, and we have a big celebration.” – Na Rive Program Director Lavarice Gaudin
arts and craftsThis program is deeply loved within the community, so there are always more children interested than space and resources allow.  But thanks to Na Rive’s creativity and resourcefulness, 100 more children are participating in the camp this year.

What we’re doing is so positive, and all the kids want to be a part of it,” says Lavarice.“Even though over 1000 children wanted to come, we are so happy that we could have 650 participate.” 

These words from an 11-year-old sum up why she loves camp:

SC 2014 embroidery_3 2“ I am in the embroidery class, and am learning how to embroider tablecloths and do other handicraft work. My hope is that I will sell some of the things I make, to help pay for my education.  I am so happy to be at this camp with so many other children!  – Jacqueline

Every member of Na Rive joins us in saying “mesi anpil” – thank you so much for your ongoing support which makes this joy-filled camp possible.

“Lespwa fe viv” – Hope makes life,

SuzanneSignature          margaret_signature_dark_black
Suzanne Alberga                   Margaret Trost
Executive Director                 Founder