Operation Smile: Local Efforts for a Global Cause

Operation Smile: Local Efforts for a Global Cause

The dental assisting students of Porter and Chester Institute far exceeded their fundraising goals for Operation Smile. The phenomenally successful campaign raised enough money for four surgeries, antibiotics, IV kits, special bottles for babies with cleft palates and more.

Operation Smile is a global inititive that provides free reconstructive surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palates and other facial deformities. According to Operation Smile, every three minutes a child is born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate and babies born with clefts are twice as likely to die before their first birthday. The children who survive are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. In some places, they are shunned and rejected and their parents often cannot afford the surgeries that will help these children have productive lives. Operation Smile tries to change all that.

And so are the dental assisting students at Porter and Chester Institute! According to Dentail Assisting Education Supervisor Melissa Hutchinson, from the Westborough campus, the cause was a natural fit for dental assisting students.

“Operation Smile is an amazing cause. In was started in 1982 and has helped thousands of children since then,” said Melissa. “Words cannot express the feeling you get when you carry that child into the recovery room and into their parents’ arms. You are helping to change that family’s life forever. I wanted my students to be part of something amazing and I thought Operation Smile would be perfect.”

The fundraiser involved all nine Porter and Cheser Institute campuses, with many of them putting their unique spin on their efforts. The Westborough campus held a change drive and the Canton campus created a traveling bake sale that raised more than $800 in just three days. The Watertown campus raised $750 and the Woburn campus included fundraising efforts for Operation Smile in their celebration of Children’s Dental Health Month. In Chicopee, students kept true to the theme of supporting those with cleft palates, but honored Dr. J. Michael Pepek and his favored charity by donating to the Shriner's Cleft Palate Clinic.

“It was an amazing sense of teamwork,” said Melissa.

Melissa says she thinks it’s important for Porter and Chester to be involved in these charitable inititiatives.

“I think that any time you can give back, you should,” said Melissa. “I believe it’s good for the soul.”

It also does a whole lot of good for the causes Porter and Chester Institute chooses to support. Since its inception in 1982, Operation Smile has provided 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with facial deformities. Porter and Chester Institute is proud to be able to help such a worthy cause.

Our Westborough campus has been relocated to Worcester.