The Smile Initiative

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Raised: $4,690.00
Goal: $10,000.00

Created by

Katelyn Edwards

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My name is Katelyn Edwards, a sophomore at the University of Tampa, and hey, I love to smile. So does my little brother Spencer. However, born with a cleft lip and palate, Spencer was ph... more


Updated posted by Katelyn Edwards 9 months ago

We made the news!


Updated posted by Katelyn Edwards 9 months ago

Almost at $4,000 for the Smile Train! Please pass this along to all you know and keep donating! Thank you :)


Updated posted by Katelyn Edwards 11 months ago

Support the Smile Initiative and we'll send you free puppies (not really)! Please pass this along to your family and friends!



Created by Katelyn Edwards on March 24, 2013

My name is Katelyn Edwards, a sophomore at the University of Tampa, and hey, I love to smile. So does my little brother Spencer. However, born with a cleft lip and palate, Spencer was physiologically unable to smile, speak, or eat properly. Fortunately, my family was able to afford the expensive surgeries my brother’s cleft necessitated. But many aren’t so lucky.

In developing countries, children with unrepaired clefts are ostracized from society, suffering a life of shame and isolation. In Uganda, for instance, a child born with a cleft is given the name “Ajok,” which literally translates to “cursed by God”; the new born is either killed immediately or left out to die. Parents fail to realize that a simple surgery could easily correct such a birth defect, or they are too poor to afford it. That’s where the Smile Train comes in: the nonprofit organization trains local surgeons across the globe to give cleft lip surgeries to children for free.

That’s a lot of free smiles, people.

This July, I plan to travel to the Ghana, where every 1 in every 700 children is born with a cleft, to volunteer alongside cleft surgeons at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, a partner of Smile Train, in Kumasi, Ghana. There, I will be blogging for the Smile Train website, capturing the physical transformations of these anomalous children, both in words and in photography. Through my experience, I plan to shed light on a humanitarian cause that is universally under-recognized, in the hopes of raising even more money for those in need.

I am hoping to raise a total of $10,000, to help cover the costs of my travels (i.e. airfare, immunizations, travel insurance, tourist visa, food, housing, etc.) and to raise as much money as possible for Smile Train surgeries. $250 translates to one cleft surgery, one changed life, one new smile!

Please help support my travels and support those who aren’t blessed with a proper smile. Say yes to my Smile Initiative- because we can change the world, one smile at a time!

Watch my interview with CBS Channel 10 Tampa News!


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Recent Donations (55)

$4,690 raised by 55 people in 13 months.


Wendy Salem

8 months ago


I'm so proud of your efforts to help kids around the world. Way to make a difference.




9 months ago



Susan Dickerson

9 months ago


Good luck in Ghana, Katelyn! We're going to miss you in January!



Eva Pettersson

9 months ago


Good luck, Kate! We wish you all the best with this project. Go ahead and make a difference! - The Pettersson Family



Paola Crespo

9 months ago


Good Luck!! :)



Mandi Kastrinos

9 months ago



Chris Maltezos

9 months ago


Hope this donation helps and best to you and your family! My thoughts are with you.



EWI Construction

9 months ago


“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” ― Kahlil Gibran



Jill Proto

9 months ago



Cassie Young

9 months ago


Good Luck Katelyn! Thank you for your support, friendship, and for inspiring me.


1-10 of 55 donations


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