Dental Assistant students raise funds for cleft repair surgeries across the world
One in 700 babies is born with cleft lip and/or palate each year, a birth defect that can impede speaking, hearing, eating and breathing. Thanks to Smile Train, an international children’s charity, medical professionals in more than 90 countries have been empowered to provide safe cleft repair surgery that can transform a child’s life immediately.
Two decades ago, WCTC’s Dental Assistant program joined that fight. Since 2000, WCTC Dental Assistant students have funded 92 cleft lip and palate surgeries for children all over the world. Their fundraising began with a bake sale and has since expanded to a wide variety of fundraisers on campus and beyond.
Last year, students raised $1,000—enough to fund four surgeries. A generous donor tripled that donation to fund an impressive 12 cleft repair surgeries. This year, students are on track to fund at least six surgeries, with $800 already raised and matched by a donor.
Not only does this work help improve the lives of children worldwide, but it also helps students develop a critical life skill: citizenship. “This project has encouraged students to expand their service learning knowledge in the field of dentistry,” said instructor Diane Turner. “The students have learned that citizenship is not only local, but global as well.”
These students put in countless hours fundraising each semester on top of an already challenging, fast-paced program. They truly embody Smile Train’s mission to change the world one smile at a time.
By Chelsey Porth, Writer/Marketing Specialist