The following was written by University of Bristol Dental Hospital student Nadeen Jawad about her role in raising needed funds and awareness for Smile Train last school year.
Last school year, as the Charity Representative for the Dental School Student’s Society, I was tasked with finding potential charities for our group to support. I researched charities online and then wrote brief descriptions of my top choices for the other society members to vote on. In the end, Smile Train was our top choice both because it was dental focused and because we knew our donations would have a big impact on children’s lives.
I wanted to organise fun events that all our students could attend. There are five distinct year-groups within the dental school, each with a different timetable, so it was difficult to find an evening without an exam or deadlines — but we managed.
From past years’ events, we’d learned that the offer of great prizes helps with attendance, so we went door to door to local businesses. We were so grateful that many of the people we talked to donated gift vouchers to use as prizes. With their help, the money we’d raise would help children receive cleft treatment rather than being spent on prizes.
The first event we held was a charity pub quiz night. It was a such a success that we ended up doing another one later in the school year.
Then we held ‘The Great Dental Bake Off’, where students and staff made their best recipes to be judged for bragging rights and prizes. Mary Berry (a Smile Train supporter) would have been proud.
Because we had so many great prizes to hand out, we held raffles every chance we could get. If there was a conference evening, pub quiz or trade fair, you would see us there selling tickets.
To end the year, we organised a charity auction where staff members kindly donated gifts and services for students to bid on. One of the hotter items was a five-course meal cooked by the head of the dental school! Our staff’s generosity made the event a hit.
I was so pleased with how these events went, and I think people really enjoyed them. It especially makes me so happy knowing that the money raised from these events is going to such a brilliant cause, helping children in need across the world! My time as Charity Representative has come to an end, but this past school year, and the impact we’ve made with Smile Train, has ensured that, even following university, I will still be involved to continue helping those in need.
Check out the Student section of our website to see how your school or university can give every child the chance to smile.