The staff and administration at Brooklyn’s IS 303 wanted to teach their students the importance of being engaged global citizens, so, in 2015, they asked them to vote on a charity that the school could rally around and support — the students voted for Smile Train.
Six grade teacher Kattiusca Montalvo said that helping other children was a big part of their decision. She shared, “The students couldn’t imagine being unable to attend school only because they had been born an untreated cleft lip — they want every child to be able to laugh and smile.”
The students and staff then decided that they would host a Zumbathon fundraiser. A Zumbathon fundraiser, or Zumba fitness party, delivers a high-energy atmosphere where participants get sponsors to dance and exercise to Latin and international music for several hours. Many students said that, besides the funds they raised to help Smile Train patients, the highlight of the event was seeing their teachers cut loose and dance Zumba.
Last school year, the students voted once again for Smile Train to be the school’s chosen charity, and held a second annual Zumbathon fundraiser. The event raised $1,800 — enough to help provide seven smiles to children around the world — and many of the donations came from the students’ own savings. In May of 2017, more than 75 students proudly presented the check to staff at Smile Train headquarters.
Smile Train’s Community Manager Bryan Klipsch said, “The goal of starting an all-school fundraiser was to bring everyone together for a common purpose and to create globally minded citizens. It was incredible to see so many young students working to make a difference for other children they would never meet. It’s a beautiful idea, children helping children.”
If you’d like to learn more about ways to help children with untreated clefts, including hosting an event or organizing a school fundraiser, please visit the Get Involved section on our site. Your support can help a child receive their new smile and a second chance at life.