PennWest Clarion’s Club Smile held their annual Small Walk for Big Smiles April 21, with an estimated 100 individuals participating. They raised $4,002 for Operation Smile, an international organization dedicated to providing free surgeries for cleft lip and palate in developing countries. The amount raised will provide 16 life-changing operations. 

“I have been a member of the organization’s executive board for three years. I wanted to ensure a successful fundraiser while educating club members and the community on what cleft lip and palate is,” said Michaela Armanini, a senior from DuBois and Club Smile president.

PennWest Clarion Club Smile

Members used lavender chalk to share statistics on the sidewalks on and around campus, where the walk took place, including:

  • It takes $240 for one life-changing surgery.
  • About one in every 1,600 babies is born with cleft lip and cleft palate.
  • About one in every 2,800 babies is born with cleft lip (without cleft palate).
  • About one in every 1, 700 babies is born with cleft palate (without cleft lip).

Club Smile raised money not only from fees associated with the walk, but also a T-shirt fundraiser through All-American Awards and Engraving and sponsorship from local businesses such as Brookville Dental PC, Cole Orthodontics, The Dancer’s Shop, DMS Printing, Dr. Joseph McNamara, Hollenbaugh’s Home Town Meat Market, Tri County Management, Toby Hill Bar and Grill, Clarion Walmart, University Korner, and Daddy’s Main Street, which donated proceeds from their March sales of the Smile Burger, an original burger created for the club. 

On-campus support came from Clarion's chapter of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association, which donated $365 from their year-end formal, and donations of raffle baskets by NSSLHA, ALA Club, ASL Club, Rehab & Human Services Club, CSEYC and sororities Delta Zeta, Tri Sigma and KDP.

According to Kenneth Staub, faculty advisor for Club Smile since 2016, participation was the largest since prior to COVID. 

Club Smile, a student-led organization founded in 2014 at PennWest Clarion, consists primarily of undergraduates majoring in speech communication sciences and disorders, nursing and education. Staub estimates the club has raised $15,000-$20,000 since its inception.