Marie Renee Thadal, a mother of one son and two daughters who resides in Robbinsville has dedicated herself to helping the children of Haiti and other islands of the Caribbean. She turned an advocacy effort for education into a mission to help underprivileged kids receive their academics in other countries. After a career as a cosmetic scientist, she switched gears and founded Itiah Angels for Learning (Itiah is “Haiti” spelled backwards and is pronounced ee-tee-ah) and leads the non-profit organization where she combines beauty and STEM with humanitarian and philanthropic initiatives.
New Jersey Family: How did you start your business/profession?
Marie Renee Thadal: Education is my passion. Access to quality education afforded me a solid career in the cosmetics industry. Knowing that my early education prepared me for advanced studies in the U.S., I have made it my duty to broaden my support and advocacy for the less fortunate. I founded the Itiah Angels for Learning organization because of this passion for education.
NJF: What has been your biggest accomplishment with your business so far?
MRT: I am amazed that I was able to transfer my volunteering expertise from the Society of Cosmetic Chemists to an organization that cultivates the minds of young students at an elementary school in Haiti. By giving these students a lending hand, we are making real changes in their lives. We also instituted a program called the Beauty Project where we travel to parts of the world that could use a boost. The aim is to engage in the community where the students spend their time when not in school. We conduct cosmetic science workshops and teach the women how to take advantage of their local resources to formulate basic cosmetic products. With their new knowledge, they can generate income for their own family.
NJF: How has your organization helped children of Haiti?
MRT: Just as I would do for my children, my organization pays the students’ tuition annually. We also provide resources so they can focus on their education and establish a good foundation for the future. We also make sure that the children are provided with a hot meal, clean drinking water, school supplies, accessories for their uniforms, toys, clothing and therapy infographics.
NJF: What advice would you give to moms looking to start a venture like yours?
MRT: I would share my motto with the moms out there: “If your mind can conceive it, you certainly can achieve it.”
NJF: What’s your favorite place to go with your family in the Garden State?
MRT: Nearby, we have many good spots like an Italian gourmet market Dolce & Clemente’s, famed pizza DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies; a Haitian owned restaurant Kafé Kreyol and a vegan restaurant, Lady and the Shallot, both located at the Trenton Farmers Market.
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