NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Smile Train, the world's leading cleft lip and palate charity, has announced that they will be joining forces with New York City schools MS 180, MS 181, Truman High School, PS 176, PS 178 and CEI's Project BOOST to celebrate World Smile Day® on Friday, October 4. Model and winner of season one of Oxygen's THE FACE, and Truman High School alumna, Devyn, will host the day's festivities at Truman High School in the Bronx, NY.
Project BOOST (Building Options and Opportunities for Students) is a program targeted at late elementary and middle school students who have demonstrated academic promise but come from disadvantaged neighborhoods where they may not have the opportunity to develop their talents. From dance performances, school fundraisers and talent shows, Project BOOST students have been enthusiastic supporters of Smile Train since 2010, raising more than $35,000 for the charity to date.
The schools and Project BOOST will come together on World Smile Day®, from 11am - 1pm at Truman High School and stride for smiles. The celebration will include performances from the school's step team, color guard team and choir. Students and Smile Train staff will speak about the importance of helping children with clefts as well as the importance of charity and kindness. Participants will wear Smile Train t-shirts and take part in events throughout the day that support the organization and the children that it serves. Singer/Songwriter and Smile Train supporter Sonali Argade will be in attendance and treat guests to a performance. Sonali is currently a student at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Also participating will be Saribel Rodriguez, a contestant for the upcoming Miss New York USA 2014 pageant. Born with a cleft lip and palate, she has a very personal connection to the important work done by the organization and is an enthusiastic supporter of Smile Train.
Additional schools around the nation, including E.J. Blott Elementary School in Youngstown, OH and Lindero Canyon Middle School in Agoura Hills, CA, will also show their support for Smile Train on October 4, partaking in different events to honor the day. World Smile Day® also marks the launch of a new school program, Students for Smile Train. This worldwide student fundraising program aims to increase student awareness of Smile Train and the issue of cleft nationwide.
"Every child should have the opportunity to have a beautiful smile and Smile Train is grateful to everyone involved in World Smile Day®. This event will raise awareness of the issues faced by children living with unrepaired clefts in the developing world," said Susannah Schaefer, CEO of Smile Train. "We are also thrilled Devyn will be joining our Smile Train family and sharing her support."
"Smile Train is an incredible organization whose successes can be seen in the new smiles of children around the world. As an alumna of Truman High School, I am so honored to be back on my home field celebrating such a great cause," said Devyn.
"The Truman community is always honored to work with programs that serve any and all children," states Keri Alfano, Interim Acting President at Truman High School. "Smile Train is an example of an esteemed organization that provides children with holistic attention-from surgical cleft care to fostering optimism and confidence within their patients. Truman takes the same approach with educating its children, so we are a perfect host for this tremendous event."
Smile Train was created to give every child born with a cleft – anywhere in the world - the opportunity to live a full, productive life. Every day, Smile Train provides more than 340 surgeries for poor children around the world. Since their inception in 1999, Smile Train has provided over 925,000 surgeries. These surgeries, which cost as little as $250 not only provide the precious gift of a smile, but also, a second chance at life. World Smile Day® inspires individuals to think about how fortunate they are to have the ability to smile and how important it is to provide that opportunity to those that are less fortunate.
For additional information on the organization and how to get involved, please visit www.smiletrain.org.
About Smile Train
Smile Train's mission is to provide a child born with a cleft the same opportunities in life as a child born without a cleft. They provide free cleft lip and palate surgery and comprehensive cleft care to poor children in developing countries. In addition to providing hundreds of thousands of cleft surgeries since 1999, Smile Train has provided training to doctors and medical professionals in 85+ countries.
Unlike many charities that do several different things, Smile Train's mission is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate. Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where millions of children are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly and aren't allowed to attend school or hold a job. They face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain and heartache. Their clefts usually go untreated because they are poor - too poor to pay for a simple surgery that has been around for decades.
About World Smile Day®
World Smile Day® was created by Harvey Ball who believed that everyone should devote one day each year to smiles and acts of compassion throughout the world.
Ball, who created the smiley face logo in 1963, created World Smile Day® to revitalize the original meaning of his logo: a symbol of generosity.
SOURCE Smile Train