Changing Lives, one Smile at a Time

Kevin Irby (United States, AC 08-10)


A pound? A dollar? A euro? Last time you donated money to a charity or non-profit organization, did it once again go into a mysterious abyss, leaving you clueless to what, or whom, your generosity went to? This is not a worry to donors of the UWCAC’s Operation Smile club. Founded with this in mind, and with the founder’s experience with an Operation Smile Mission in Jordan, the club offers donors the security of knowing exactly how their donation is being utilized: to give children the gift of a smile. Operation smile ( is a not-for profit, volunteer medical services organization that provides reconstructive facial surgery to indigent children and young adults. In as little as 45 minutes, and for as little as $240, one cleft lip surgery can change a child’s life forever.


UWCAC’s club focuses primarily on fundraising in a manner not only focused on providing funds for Operation Smile, but in a way that also is positive for the donors; as the first fundraising event of the year, a Jumble Sale was held shortly after the first years’ arrival to provide the opportunity for many students who were unable to bring certain items because of weight limits to purchase winter clothes, bedding, and other goods collected at the end of last term. Nearly every item in the sale was sold for £2, and the leftover clothing was sent to charity to reduce waste and continue helping charity. The second fundraising event was an American-style Bake Sale, with Czechoslovak honey cake, homemade cookies, cupcakes, and cake, as well as the popular Krispy Kreme donuts. Needless to say, the Bake Sale was a welcomed relief after a half day of classes. With these two fundraising events alone in the span of a month, approximately $960 has been collected to fund surgeries, prospectively granting four children brand new smiles.


UWCAC’s Operation Smile club also received the prestigious title as the International Club of the Year, given by Operation Smile Headquarters this summer during the 16th Annual Student Leadership Conference in San Diego, California. With new leadership and a dedicated group of active members, our Operation Smile Club hopes to work with local schools on awareness of cleft lip, fundraise in the local community, and open up the possibilities for our members to work with Operation Smile missions during breaks or after graduation through intensive training and the resulting opportunity. With the hope of funding at least double the surgeries as last year, and increase cooperation and collaboration with Operation Smile headquarters, our members are “Changing Lives, one Smile at a Time.”

– United World College Student Magazine –


One thought on “Changing Lives, one Smile at a Time

  1. Hey Kevin,

    Great article! What a great cause to give these kids a smile. I am amazed at how inexpensive the procedure costs. Keep up the good work and we will see you soon…


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