Friendships and Smiles at Student Ambassadors’ Annual Summit

April 18, 2019 | Smile Train

With a unified goal of learning more about cleft lip and palate and preparing for Smile Train fundraising and advocacy events at their high schools, 25 Smile Train Student Ambassadors from all over the country recently converged at Smile Train’s headquarters in New York City for the second annual Summit Conference.

Smile Train Student Ambassadors

First, the students participated in a video conference with Smile Train partner Dr. Mercado, who shared why he decided to focus his career on cleft lip and palate and described how their Smile Train fundraising efforts will help to eliminate barriers to children receiving cleft treatment in the Philippines.

Smile Train former patient Joseph

Then, the group watched a video interview of a young man from the Philippines, Joseph, who shared how his Smile Train supported cleft treatment had changed his life. He shared that he had been painfully shy before his cleft surgery and would hide under tables when guests came to his home. He was pleased to report that, today, he has the confidence to work in customer service.

Smile Train staff present

Next, Smile Train staff members from various departments gave presentations on their job responsibilities and how they contribute to giving smiles, followed by Young Leadership Circle member Erin McKeon’s interactive session on effective presentation skills.

Students give presentations

Smile Train’s Manager of Community Fundraising, Ikiah McGowan, noted, “After each game, presentation, and groupwork session, the students grew more at ease and started developing friendships with other young people who shared a passion for philanthropy.”

Students pose at museum of illusion

The weekend wasn’t all work, as the students took a field trip to the Museum of Illusions and had a meal at the popular NYC restaurant Sugar Factory. Some of the students from warmer climates even got to experience snow for the very first time.

Students with Smile Train cards

At the conference’s end, a few of the student ambassadors shared: 

I absolutely loved the Student Ambassador Conference. I met so many amazing people and learned so much about effective fundraising and marketing.

This conference was a turning point for me as a Smile Train Student Ambassador, because I now have new friends who will support my efforts from around the country.

Smile Train’s Director of Community Fundraising, Adina Lescher, shared, “I want to thank each student for your hard work. You were a talented, caring, and dedicated group – I know that all of you will make a big impact at your schools next year and help us change the world one smile at a time.”


Join the Student Ambassador program or learn more by visiting the Students section of our website.