Smile Train is an international nonprofit organization that seeks to ensure that all children “born with a cleft anywhere in the world has the opportunity to live a full, productive life.” In developing countries, there are over a million children with unrepaired clefts—which can seriously impair their ability to speak or eat, and can mean they aren’t allowed to attend school or even hold a job.
The surgery to fix clefts can cost as little as $250 and can be completed in less than an hour. Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, is working to ensure that all children get the surgery they need. They are currently providing over 300 surgeries every single day.
Smile Train has now partnered with the New York Islanders hokey team to promote National Facial Protection Month this April. Together, they will work to spread awareness on how to keep our faces and heads protected and healthy.
As part of the awareness campaign, Smile Train is asking this year’s New York Islanders game attendees to take photos of themselves smiling during any game through April 30th Dr. Marc Herman, the Islanders’ team dentist, has promised to donate $1.00 to Smile Train for every picture uploaded to Twitter, Instagram, or Tumbler using the hash tag #SmileNFPM.
Dr. Herman has some good advice for both kids and adults involved in sports. “To protect the oral cavity and teeth, mouth guards should be worn during all events, including practices. The mouth guards should be fitted by a dentist to ensure coverage and protection of all the teeth. Visit the dentist regularly so impending troubles can be identified and resolved before they become difficulties.”
The owner of the New York Islanders, Charles B. Wang, is also the co-founder and chairman of Smile Train. “It has always been my mission to help children around the world,” he says, “and this is a terrific opportunity for Smile Train to work together with the Islanders players to educate everyone on the importance of facial protection and safety and to help bring more smiles to more children who need our help through Smile Train.”