I’ve always loved the phrase “Everyone smiles in the same language.” Next week at the International School of Beijing (ISB) — through efforts of the Middle School Student Council (STUCO) – students, faculty and staff will learn what it means to truly give the gift of a smile during their annual Smile Week.
For the fifth year in a row, STUCO organizes awareness events and fundraisers to help provide cleft lip and cleft palate orphans from Ping An Medical Foster Home the corrective operations they need. A plastic surgeon from a Chinese hospital essentially donates his time, but the operations themselves cost about RMB 12,000 each (up from RMB 9,000). Over time, this student organization has paid for 20 successful operations!
Several events during Smile Week emphasize the purpose of the activities and fundraising efforts. First, during a school assembly, the entire middle school will personally meet the babies that each grade level will sponsor. Then, throughout the week students will sell “smile cards” – message cards that are purchased, personalized and delivered to friends, teachers and colleagues during Smile Week (RMB 10). A limited amount of smile badges will also be on sale for RMB 100, and tickets to a middle school function tonight cost RMB 25, proceeds of which go in the fundraising coffer. During this kick-off event by the kids for the kids, students will enjoy time with their friends at a disco, in the gym, eating dinner and watching a movie, all held at the school.
A huge fundraising part of the week is the silent auction of framed photography by Through the Dragon’s Eye. Faculty and staff members of ISB — as well as a WAB teacher for the first time this year – donated 26 pieces of their photography talents, all on display in the corridors during the week. Bidding begins at RMB 100 and will close at the end of school on Friday, March 23, with winners being notified in early April. Anyone from the community is welcome to come view and bid on these fantastic pieces during Smile Week – procuring nice artwork for themselves, and giving the gift of a smile at the same time.
Continued efforts on behalf of STUCO occur throughout the school year, but Smile Week is now a well-known, anticipated, and highly successful portion of the students helping cleft lip and cleft palate babies. Under the direction of teacher/mentor Jim Fidler, the 24 middle school STUCO students have worked hard as a team to offer these orphans a lasting gift – the gift of a smile.