PLATTSBURGH - In a matter of days, students from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh managed to raise enough money to help bring a smile to the face of a child in a developing country overseas.
The group of four students - Ashlee Rock, David McDonald, Chris Durocher and Brittany Rivers - recently raised $250 as part of a class project to benefit The Smile Train, a nonprofit organization based in New York City. The organization's mission is to raise necessary funding for cosmetic surgeries to reduce or eliminate the facial abnormalities such as cleft lips and palates.
Rock, who headed up the group, said the amount was raised through a fundraiser at Wal-Mart April 14, at which raffle tickets were sold for four movie passes to Cumberland 12 Cinemas and a $25 gift certificate to Butcher Block. The package was won by Bill Dashnaw, said Rock, when the group drew the winning ticket April 21.
"We really wanted to be able to contribute enough to change the life of at least one child," said Rock, who noted one surgery cost exactly the amount that was raised. "We are very pleased with the turnout."
In addition to raising money, the group raised awareness, said Rock.
"We expected many people to just ignore us and walk by," she said. "Many did, but the ones that did stop by were interested in the cause and many had actually heard about the organization prior to our fundraiser."
Some people bought one ticket, while others bought as many as 16, she added.
"Some people actually just donated some spare change without wanting anything in return," Rock said.
Now, with money in hand, the group will send its contribution to The Smile Train, who will in turn send a photograph of the child who is helped with the money, said Rock.
"We are excited to visually experience the change of the child that we helped," she said. "It's such a good feeling."
"This whole experience shows that together, any community can give just a little of what we have to save the life of someone less fortunate," Rock added.
The students further thanked Kevin Kilkeary at Butcher Block and Cumberland 12 Cinemas for donating items to raffle.
"It really is a touching story of local businesses and community members coming together to make a difference in someone's life," said Rock.