Meet Our 2022 Inaugural Smile Train College Scholarship Winners

Ling Clobes and Victoria Reed

Ling Clobes

Meet Ling Clobes

Ling Clobes, of Eudora, Kansas, was born in China with a cleft lip, and her first surgery was paid for by a charity there before she was adopted. Knowing she was touched by the kindness of others from her earliest days has motivated her to dedicate her life to paying it forward ever since.

It’s what drove her to pursue many volunteer activities over her high school career, including being tapped by her local government to help start the Douglas County Youth Prevention Board, focused on teenage mental health and substance abuse, and participating in the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Forum in Washington, DC.

Ling will spend this coming academic year volunteering in Ecuador, then will attend Wichita State University to major in nursing and Spanish.

As a nurse, “I am interested in serving the non-English speaking community either in the United States or abroad. One of my goals as a nurse is to serve communities that don’t have access to quality healthcare,” she said.

“My cleft lip and palate have influenced my childhood and my passion. I have been blessed to have a children’s hospital and a speech clinic close by…. The road has been long and hard, but now that I am on the other side, it has been worthwhile. I hope one day I can make an impact on my patients like the impact my care team had on me. I am super blessed by God to live where I am and have the opportunity to live a normal life with a cleft.

“I want everyone to know that it’s okay to be different. We’re all unique, whether physically or mentally. People born with a different ability can accomplish anything anyone else can.”

Victoria Reed

Meet Victoria Reed

Victoria Reed, of Altburgh, Vermont, could have let her cleft bring her down, but instead she chose to use it to lift herself and her entire community.

She has been focused on helping others since she was very small, from the day she became conscious that she had been receiving cleft care from the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital since birth. With help from her family, she got involved in the Big Change Roundup, an annual fundraising effort hosted by a local radio station. Though ordinarily a seasonal event, Victoria’s family always kept going even after the Roundup ended.

Through “Team Victoria,” they organized fundraising events all year, including a golf tournament each summer and a spaghetti dinner each winter. Their efforts have paid off in a big way. Over the years, they’ve raised $175,000 to benefit Victoria’s second home, the children’s hospital where she has had 15 surgeries — plus countless other appointments — over her 18 years.

She will start at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT this fall, majoring in English.

“Making a major contribution to my community has fostered a sense of confidence within me that I might not otherwise possess,” she said. “My cleft does not define me negatively. I recognize its significance and its role in my life, but I do not view it as who I am entirely. As a human, I am much more than the scars adorning my face.

“I maintain that the lessons I have taken away from my cleft can be applied to all aspects of my life and future. I acknowledge the importance of community, of acts of service, and of confidence in oneself and in others…. I love sharing my story, and I continue to do so in the hopes that it will one day find someone like me and encourage them to turn a seemingly unfortunate experience into a positive one.”