Smile Train Capstone Essay

          Have you wondered about having a cleft lip or palate? Have you ever thought about how hard your life would be if you had this condition? Smile Train is an amazing charity which helps people get corrective surgery for cleft lips and cleft palates. Read on to learn about what a powerful positive influence Smile Train has made on millions of people.


          My main inquiry question for Capstone is, “How has Smile Train affected the lives of children and people with a cleft lip or palate?” I chose this topic because becoming aware of children who are suffering makes me feel grateful and sympathetic. On a broader level, this is a topic which people seem to be only somewhat aware of, despite the pain felt by people suffering from it, and the relative ease of correcting the condition.  In this essay, I will write about how Smile Train has positively impacted people with cleft lips and cleft palates.


           Smile Train provides free corrective surgeries for people in undeveloped countries. Since 1999, Smile Train has given more than one million free surgeries, mostly to children. Why does this matter? This matters because kids who don’t have their lips or palates repaired suffer greatly. In fact, in some places, babies with the condition are abandoned or even killed because people think that these babies are cursed. Even if this doesn’t happen, these kids are likely to suffer as they are less likely to go to school, more likely to be bullied and teased, and less likely to get a job and get married. I think that it is amazing that for only $250, you can help a child somewhere in the world fix their condition and have a brighter future and a happy life.


          As background, cleft lips and palates are cosmetic issues which affect eating and breathing in addition to the look of the face. They affect eating because when you have a cleft palate, you have a hole at the roof of the mouth, making it hard to swallow, chew and communicate. Position of teeth can also be affected. In terms of breathing, when you have a cleft lip or palate, the positioning of the nose and mouth are affected, and the nostrils are often connected, making it hard to breathe.


          In the developing world, there are approximately 170,000 babies born each year with a cleft lip or palate.  About one in every 500 babies is born with cleft, but it varies by ethnicity. This means it is one of the most common birth defects, according to Adina Wexelberg-Clouser, Director of Community Fundraising at Smile Train.  It’s not totally generic, it’s also related to malnutrition, and that is why it occurs more in the developing world.


          Smile Train funds 128,000 surgeries per year, in 85 countries.  It has 50 people in it’s US office, which is located in NY. The rest of the people are out in the field all over the world training local doctors to do the surgical procedure and care for people with the cleft condition.  Ideally, cleft lip surgery should happen at 3 months of age, cleft palate surgery at 10 months. However, Smile Train will fix anyone at any age who comes to them. I think that this is a great policy because they don’t turn people away.  Mrs. Wexelberg-Clouser told me that Smile Train recently had a patient who was 70 years old!


         The average cost of an operation by Smile Train is $250.  For me, I think that it is amazing that for only $250, you can make a person more happy and make their life better.  But it doesn’t end here. In addition to this, Adina Wexelberg-Clouser, Director of Community Fundraising at Smile Train, told me about the multiplying effect of these operations.  Basically, the multiplying effect means that over the course of their life, a person who has receive an operation to correct a cleft lip or palate is more likely to get a job and contribute to a country’s growth.  Smile Train estimates that each person operated on, makes about $50,000 of production over that person’s life.


          “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” is a quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.  Smile Train used this quote to explain how they are different from Operation Smile, Operation Smile is a another charity that is focused on the cleft and palate condition.  Basically, Smile Train thinks that they should send a Western doctor to an undeveloped country to train local doctors to perform cleft corrective surgeries. Operation Smile is different from Smile Train because they send Western doctors to each country to perform surgeries.  This costs more money because they have to pay for airline tickets to go to the country for each surgery, as well as pay for housing. So, Smile Train’s method is different because it works with locals to be more efficient.


          In conclusion,  I think that Smile Train is an amazing charity  that helps people get free corrective surgeries for people in poor and undeveloped countries .  I hope that you  donate to smile train because, Smile Train has made a positive and powerful influence for more than a million people  who have cleft lips and palates.  This is why I think that smile train has made a very positive and Powerful affection to people with cleft lips are palates.

4 thoughts on “Smile Train Capstone Essay

  1. I thought that your essay was really good because of how much detail you gave. I learned a lot about smile train. If there is one thing you could work on it would be to have a thesis and topic sentences. You should try to make your essay more essay like.

  2. You gave a lot of information. I like how you explained why smile training is important. Great job!

  3. I like this blog post, but it is a little unorganized. I really like this post because it was very interesting and you did a pretty good job answering your main inquiry question. Great job!

  4. You explained details about how smile train has made an impact on society, and gave a lot of clear examples that relate to people in the Smile Train industry. The leadership rolls as an example is inspiring and keeps me hooked. Great job!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *