Sometimes, kids need a bit of extra motivation- whether it's in the classroom, on the athletic field or at home. But for one North Tama student, getting involved and giving back is something that needed no encouragement.
Sixth grader Kendra TeBeest has been working on getting things ready for her upcoming fundraiser designed to help kids in need of one of the most basic childhood necessities: a smile.
TeBeest will be placing donation containers in area businesses next week as part of a fundraiser designed to raise money for Smile Train, the world's largest cleft charity.
North Tama sixth grader Kendra TeBeest is seen here with the colorful donation containers that will soon adorn several Traer businesses as part of the Smile Train fundraiser she decided to take on this school year.
Smile Train has a mission of providing free, safe surgery for poor patients with cleft lip and cleft palate. Many children around the world, and here at home, suffer from this condition, which can have a debilitating effect on speaking, breathing and eating.
TeBeest decided to raise money for Smile Train on her own after seeing it on television a few years ago. In second grade, she did a similar fundraiser at North Tama Elementary that raised enough to get surgeries for three children in need.
"It went well, we helped three kids just from donations at the school," TeBeest said.
That is impressive in and of itself, as the cost of one surgery is $250. TeBeest's efforts back then focused on raising money exclusively at the school, and she is hopeful that expanding the reach of the fundraiser will bring in even more money to help kids in need.
"We'll be putting donation containers at NuCara, Covenant Clinic, Short Stop, the recycling center, Chelsea Savings Bank, Farmers Savings Bank and maybe a few others," TeBeest said. "For every $250 raised, we can afford another surgery."
And as any parent of a child with a cleft condition will tell you, one surgery can make a world of difference. Smile Train has assisted with over 840,000 surgeries to date.
For TeBeest, the fundraiser is a way to help those in need, something she has seen an example of at home. She has a large family and a busy schedule for a sixth grader.
When she's not out raising money and awareness for important issues, TeBeest enjoys participating in the arts through singing, dancing and acting. This summer, she'll be participating in a production of "The Sound of Music" at camp.
If you visit a Traer business or the school over the next few weeks, be sure to keep an eye out for the brightly-colored donation containers and give a little bit of support to this worthwhile cause.