Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Faith In Action: Smile Train Fundraiser

Preparation for Activity

Description of Activity

The Smile Train is an international organization that provides medical treatment to children born with cleft lip and cleft palate. Another organization that works to repair cleft palate is Operation Smile. Invite the group to plan a bake sale, greeting card sale or other activity to raise money for one of these organizations.

Say, in your own words:

Children who look different from others sometimes get teased. If that happens, a child might think their difference is a terrible flaw. Maybe you have been teased at one time for looking different. Maybe you have teased someone else who looks different.

Tell the children that some children look different because of medical conditions they are born with. Ask if anyone knows or has seen a child like that. Allow some contributions. Expect some laughter, as this topic is likely to make children uncomfortable. Acknowledge that it can be uncomfortable to see or talk about this kind of difference. You may wish to say that some medical conditions simply make people look different, while others affect a person's health or comfort and some medical conditions do both.


If we know or see someone who has a visible medical condition, we can bet they are aware of it whenever they are with other people. That must be hard. We would want that person to know we see their imperfection and accept it as part of them. We want to show our respect for that person and our connection with them.

One way we can do that is to help pay for surgery for children who have a medical condition that both makes them look different and harms their health, but do not have the money for surgery to repair it.

Explain that cleft lip and cleft palate happen when someone is born before their face fully develops inside their mother's belly. Tell the group that surgery can repair a cleft lip or palate so a child can breathe, speak and eat better, as well as have an appearance that is more like other children's. Take suggestions for a fundraising activity to help Operation Smile or the Smile Train, and make a plan.