Student Spotlight: Grace Peters

Grace Peters is a junior, majoring in Anthropology and International Studies with a concentration in Africa. She celebrated her 21st birthday in a BIG way! She set up a Facebook fundraiser with the original goal of raising $500 and ended raising $2,700 for the Smile Train Foundation. The Smile Train is a nonprofit organization that helps children in developing countries receive a free surgery to fix their cleft lip and palates. I discussed with Grace what the Smile Train Foundation meant to her, “The Smile Train is important to me because I was born with a cleft palate. My oral surgeons, who had been with me from the start, volunteered with Smile Train, and introduced my parents to the foundation. My family has been donating ever since.”

She then explained to me that when she became old enough to realize that she was different, Smile Train showed her that there were children in the world who were not as fortunate as her. She continued saying, “They couldn’t eat, breathe, drink, or talk properly, and it always confused me why I was born into this world fortunate enough to have the proper care needed to fix these impairments so I could live a normal life, and they didn’t. I didn’t know why I got so lucky, so from then on I always thought that it was my mission to be their voice and give back in any way I could. Even if I couldn’t donate money at the time, I felt that it was my job to educate people. I remember when I was younger I would bring in baby pictures of me during show and tells, showing my pre-surgery pictures with a hole in my mouth and my post surgery baby pictures of me with a scar. I explained to my class why my nose was crooked, and explained that there were children like me who couldn’t have these surgeries.”

All of the money that Grace raised will go to Smile Train directly. The cost of the surgery is only $250, including the overnight, food, and other necessities for the families. The $2,700 that Grace donated will allow almost ELEVEN children to receive the cleft lip and palate surgeries. “One thing I love about Smile Train is that they are all about sustainability within the local community” said Grace, “The surgeons, dentists, nurses, and therapists go to different countries to provide the treatment but they also aim to empower the local doctors. Since 1999, they have provided more than 66,000 free scholarships, surgical training resources, workshops, and symposiums for doctors in 140+ countries.”

Grace’s selfless act to raise money for the Smile Train Foundation allows for us to reflect on this upcoming holiday season and sharing the spirit of giving back to our communities, locally and globally. If you would want to know more about the Smile Train Foundation, you can check out the link


Gabby Leach

Staff Blogger

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