The following was written by Smile Train Student Ambassador Taytum Tercenio, about her high school club’s recent success at the Ladera Ranch Annual Community Garage Sale.
My oldest brother was born with a cleft lip and palate. Growing up, some of my friends didn’t know what a cleft was — much less that the parents of children in the developing world are often unable to afford cleft surgery like my brother had. So, during my junior year of high school, I started the Share a Smile Club with the dual purpose of raising awareness of cleft lip and palate and fundraising for Smile Train.
Last school year, I signed up to become a Smile Train Student Ambassador. Networking with other students around the US and getting additional resources and support from Smile Train Headquarters seemed like a great way to take our club to the next level. I’ve enjoyed every second of the program — it has given me the opportunity to spread awareness about cleft lip and palate to my classmates, teachers, community, and many families around Southern California.
Every spring, my community, Ladera Ranch, California, holds a garage sale where every street and cul-de-sac is filled with people looking for hidden treasures from 7 a.m. into the evening. I thought that the high foot traffic would be a great opportunity to share information about clefts and fundraise for Smile Train. The Share a Smile Club helped by donating items to sell and informing their families and friends about where to find our table.
On the day of the sale, we passed out Smile Train pamphlets, gave stickers to children, and had some amazing in-depth conversations with community members – you could feel the Power of a Smile radiating from our table. As an added bonus, we raised nearly enough for a Smile Train sponsored cleft surgery.
I would like to thank everyone who helped me spread Smile Train’s message and vision to our community (especially my family). Dozens of people, who had never heard of clefts or Smile Train before, are now eager to become Smile Makers themselves.
I can’t wait to continue my work as a Smile Train Student Ambassador next school year so that we can share our message with many more people around Southern California.
Visit the Students page of our site to learn more about the Student Ambassador Program.