Auburn Family

Operation Smile Benefit Concert: Behind the Scenes

This Friday, Oct. 24 Auburn University's chapter of Operation Smile is hosting a concert to raise money to support operations for children with cleft lips and cleft palates whose families cannot pay for the operation themselves. 

The event begins at 7 p.m. and is being held at Auburn Christian Fellowship, 315 S. Gay St. The concert will showcase local Auburn talent, such as Grace Albritton, Sam Street, Seth Baker and Nate & Funktion and give a chance for the local community to get involved with the Operation Smile organization through donations.

The concert is free, but Jade Whitaker, president of Auburn's Operation Smile chapter said, "we do ask that you be willing to donate since our organization is solely a fundraising organization." There will also be free pizza, snacks and drinks for attendees to have while also enjoying the music.

Whitaker said she wants everyone to stop by and enjoy the company, but hopes to raise enough to fund one surgery, which costs $240. 

Whitaker was the brains behind bringing Operation Smile to Auburn's campus and is the reason the concert is taking place. Whitaker has utilized her skills and passions for dentistry to change the lives of many children through Operation Smile, "I am hoping to pursue a career as a pediatric dentist and I want to work on mission trips with the non-profit, Operation Smile."

"My biggest passion is children with cleft lip palates," said Whitaker. "I researched and found out that I could bring a student club to Auburn's campus, and so I found people who were interested, an advisor, went through the process of starting an organization and it all happened." 

"The experience (of being president) has been everything from exciting, to humbling, to frustrating," Whitaker said. "My favorite part is just seeing others be so passionate and how I've met so many people, in so many different walks of life, who have had experiences with children with cleft lips."

Last year the organization held a similar concert event and was able to also raise money for the cause.

According to Operation Smile, a child is born with a cleft every three minutes. However, due to the aid of groups similar to the Auburn chapter, the organization has been able to provide 220,000 free surgeries since 1982.

Operation Smile is an international organization, which provides funding for necessary surgeries for children with cleft lip palates as well as the post-operation medical treatment that may be needed. 

Click here to donate to the cause online.

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