Eric Harr Power Of A Smile

Eric Harr HeaderThis is my beloved family. We’re all smiles, because we STAND with Smile Train!

What first inspired you to support Smile Train?
Our family has been aware of Smile Train’s heroic work for years. We’d see the ads in magazines, and show them to our children, Vivienne and Turner. We’d say “this is what compassion into action looks like. We are blessed, and it’s our responsibility to help others.” Then we’d write a check together and send it in.

Fast forward to the 2015 Clinton Global annual meeting, and there I am about to sit down to brunch for a plenary session. Who’s sitting to my left, but your extraordinary and wonderful CEO, Susie Schaefer. Total sweetheart. We hit it off immediately, because we were both…smiling! I’m serious! We put our compassion into action, right there, in this STAND.

What does the Power of a Smile mean to you?
Phyllis Diller said: “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” It really does—for the “smiler”—and the “smilee.” I don’t know of anything that easier to do and costs nothing—yet is priceless.

How has your involvement with Smile Train made you look at the Power of a Smile differently?
I look at the power of a smile differently in this way: one simple procedure can alter the trajectory of an entire life. I suppose you can measure that in better health, more education, etc. But you cannot measure the ripple effects of that new smile: the impact that person’s smile has on everyone around them, compounded over their entire lives. It’s beautiful when you think about it.

What keeps you wanting to stay involved with Smile Train?
1. The work. The direct line to impact. $250 for a new smile. It’s clear and compelling.

2. The people. The people behind Smile Train are passionate, smart, kindhearted—and fun! And that matters. It makes helping fun. That’s a good thing for everyone.

What has the Power of a Smile done for you in your life?
I’m a big smiler. I go around smiling and hugging people. It can be a little much for some folks, but I believe in the Law of Attraction (which isn’t some Pollyanna notion. It’s a scientific fact.) You get what you put out in the world. If you’re happy and smiling, your life will reflect that. Happiness is a choice—and they’re no easier way to be happy than to smile.

Chris Szydlo Power Of A Smile

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Former cleft patient and Smile Train company matching gift donor, Chris Szydlo, shares the reasons why he donates to Smile Train through his employer’s matching gift program.

What first inspired you to support Smile Train?
I was able to have three surgeries to correct my cleft lip because of my family’s healthcare plan—I know that others are not that fortunate. A new smile can restore the confidence of children ostracized for something completely out of their control. By giving them the ability to regain their pride and confidence, I know that we are making an immeasurable impact on them as individuals, their families and communities.

If you could give one piece of advice to a child with a cleft what would it be?
Stay positive and be proud of who you are. What makes you different can also be your greatest strength.

Why should others be inspired to donate to Smile Train?
Who doesn’t want to help someone smile? We spend money on presents, food, comedy shows, and an endless amount of other short-term means to make us smile. An investment toward a cleft surgery, through Smile Train, creates a smile for life!

What makes you smile?
Being able to make a positive impact in other people’s lives.

If you’re interested in your company matching your gift to Smile Train please visit

Ewa Rumprecht Power Of A Smile

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Ewa Rumprecht, Manager, Technology Projects (pictured above with medical partners in Myanmar) talks about what the Power Of A Smile means to her.

What first inspired you to work at Smile Train?
I was impressed by Smile Train’s focus on a single solvable problem. It was also important for me that Smile Train was building, supporting and strengthening our partner’s medical capacity rather than providing international aid as outsiders, without local knowledge.

How has your involvement with Smile Train made you look at the Power Of A Smile differently?
I see the Power Of A Smile as an immense number of children in need that are being helped by the generosity of the donors, dedication of the local doctors, medical staff, social workers and Smile Train’s efforts. The image of one million smiling faces cannot leave one unmoved.

What keeps you involved in Smile Train?
The difference that Smile Train makes in peoples’ lives. I am touched and motivated, every time I see an image of a mother leaning over her child after a cleft surgery with renewed hopes. I read accounts of a doctor who adopted a cleft patient he found chained to a tree, families walking for days for their new smiles, children learning to sing after their surgeries. A new smile makes great things happen.

What do you think the Power Of A Smile is?
A smile opens doors, increases confidence, and provides comfort at just the right moment.

Nina Bolhuis Power Of A Smile

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Smile Train supporter and former cleft patient, Nina Bolhuis, talks about what the Power Of A Smile means to her.

What inspired you to support Smile Train?
I think that more people need to be aware that cleft lip and palate is often a very serious health issue—especially for children with clefts who can’t afford a surgery. I recently found Smile Train on Instagram and I was amazed by all of the smiling children Smile Train has reached.

If you could give one piece of advice to a child with cleft what would it be?
Be self-confident. Once I learned to embrace myself all of the shame went away. You may not look like everyone else but you’re beautiful and strong. Embrace your imperfections, they will always be there, and that makes you, you.

What did being born with a cleft teach you about life?
It taught me to stand up for myself. When I was younger, I ignored bullying by pretending that it didn’t bother me but now I’ve learned to confront bullying by openly talking about my cleft. Once people know your story, they will be less likely to try to hurt you.

Nina 300.jpgWhat makes you smile?
I always say, “Don’t search for happiness, find it.” I think that some people overthink happiness and often miss all of the happy things all around. A child helped by Smile Train makes me happy. My family and friends make me happy. Music and dancing make me happy.

Jeff Gardner Power Of A Smile

Jeff Gardner Family 12.2.15Smile Train matching gift donor, Jeff Gardner, shares the reasons why he donates to Smile Train through his employer’s matching gift program.

What does the “Power of a Smile” mean to you?
A smile is very powerful. A smile conveys inner strength and happiness. A smile can bring joy to anyone who is giving or receiving it. A smile can opens doors and conversations into other people’s worlds–I think my wife first liked me for my smile.

If you could give one piece of advice to a child with cleft what would it be? 
Never give up hope. Keep the faith that one day soon you will be able to have life-changing surgery.

What first inspired you to support Smile Train?
Once I learned that a cleft lip and palate could be repaired with a relatively simple surgery, and that Smile Train attends to the cleft children’s emotional and physical needs– I knew that a donation would be immensely rewarding for me. What better gift is there than to give the chance to provide life-changing surgery and follow-up care for a child and his or her family?

What was it about Smile Train that stood out to you from other charities? 
The structure and goal of the organization for providing not only the surgery but the necessary support and care leading up to and after the surgery.  The goals of the 3-dimensional virtual surgery simulator program exemplify Smile Train’s goals for education and teaching.

Why do you take advantage of your employer’s matching gift program? 
I was so excited when I learned that my pharmaceutical company had a matching gift program. I knew that company match contributions to Smile Train would be a great way to double my impact to help children.

If you’re interested in your company matching your gift to Smile Train please visit

Julieanne Wallace-Jones Power Of A Smile

Julieanne2Julieanne and her husband Nigel, from Bromborough in Wirral, have always loved to host parties for their family and friends. But after receiving a Smile Train leaflet through the letter box in 2011, they decided that these parties could serve an even greater purpose – to raise money for children suffering from cleft lips and palates in the developing world. We recently caught up with Julieanne to hear more about her fundraising parties.

Can you tell us more about your parties?
Nigel and I started hosting Smile Train parties roughly five years ago with a small party in the garden. We decided to ask for donations instead of people bringing presents. The first party was so successful that we have hosted one every year since, and each year the guest list just keeps growing.

Tell us about your 60th Birthday Party
We had more than 60 guests, who each donated £20 to attend. We also had small fees to participate in our party games and raffle. Altogether, we raised £2,550 –  enough money to cover the surgery costs for 18 children born with cleft lips and palates!

Why do you continue to support Smile Train?
We enjoy raising money for an excellent charity like Smile Train because we know that a relatively small amount of money can change the lives of the children they help. All of us living in the UK have so much to be thankful for. It is wonderful to be able to help others in this way and have a great party at the same time.

What makes you Smile?
Hosting parties. There’s nothing nicer than getting all your friends and family together – the house just comes alive!


Dr. Esther Njoroge Power Of A Smile

IMG_4364 (2)Dr. Esther Nyambura Njoroge, Regional Director, Smile Train Africa talks about what the Power Of A Smile means to her.

What first inspired you to work at Smile Train?
I studied medicine so I would be able to work for an organization that transform children’s lives. When I read about Smile Train’s work in Africa I knew that was where I wanted to be. Working with Smile Train helps me change the world, in my own small way.

How has your involvement with Smile Train made you look at the Power Of A Smile differently?
We take a lot of life’s gifts for granted.  Meeting and interacting with patients born with cleft lip and/or palate has made me appreciate my ability to smile. A smile is like an invitation to invite someone into your life. Giving cleft patients the power to interact with their community is a gift like no other.

What keeps you involved in Smile Train?
I wake up every day with purpose and go to bed every night satisfied that I have changed a life forever. I love when I see the joy in a mother’s eyes the moment they see their child after surgery—I’m so grateful to Smile Train for allowing me be a part of a miracle.