Fall 2012 Newsletter

Fall 2012 Newsletter

In Memory of John Uth, Chairman of the Board

On May 20, 2012 Alliance for Smiles lost its beloved Chairman and Co-Founder, John Uth, to a battle with cancer. At its February Gala, Alliance for Smiles honored John with the Distinguished Service Award for his years of service and leadership.

John Uth’s story is that of a self-made man who immigrated to the United States to find the American dream and who succeeded. He was a man who was loved by all and whose death touched the hearts of many, because in the last 20 years of his life he continually paid forward his good fortune. He worked as a tireless volunteer to better children’s lives in countries where there is poverty and lack of medical services. One of his crowning achievements was the founding of Alliance for Smiles. John’s leadership, compassion and vision impacted the lives of literally thousands of children and their families. He will be missed.

In his memory, Alliance for Smiles conducted a mission to Singida, Tanzania funded by donations from individuals who wished to honor him. We were able to make great strides to change the lives of patients and to work with Singida Regional Hospital. As part of a Rotary grant sponsored by District 6910, we brought with us a set of surgical instruments which we donated to the local hospital, so that the surgeons will be able to continue our work of providing free surgeries. We are also looking at the possibility of setting up a Treatment Center at this site.

We are moving forward with the vision that John helped to create.

Alliance for Smiles would like to thank everyone who donated in John’s memory and helped make this mission to Tanzania a reality. If you would like to help a child in Africa, China, or other developing coutnries, please visit www.allianceforsmiles.org, or call the office at 415-647-4481. Every donation, big or small, helps us bring smiles to children!

Mission Reports

Alliance for Smiles completed its first mission to Cameroon April 1st to May 5th as the seventh mission to Africa as part of a Smile Train grant. AfS completed surgery on 48 children with a total of 64 procedures.

In August, we conducted a mission to Singida, Tanzania in memory John Uth. All of our missions to Africa have been difficult because in the countries we have visited there are no registries of children born with birth defects, so it is more difficult to locate them. But due to the hard work of our team, led by Barbara Fisher, the Singida region has pledged to create such a registry! Another challenge in Africa has been to convince the poverty-stricken people that the promise of free surgery will be fulfilled. They have been let down so many times that they do not believe in the reality of our offer. However, we are making strides to create systems whereby the governments and local charities will be willing to take responsibility for helping people born with cleft lip and palate deformities.

We also completed two missions to China. The first was to Zunyi, in the Guizhou province from May 12th to 26th. During this mission 91 procedures were performed on 71 children and adults.

Alliance for Smiles plans to return to Zunyi in November, and go to Bijie in the same province in September.

The second mission to China this year was to the city of Zhangzhou, and took place July 7th to 21st. This mission was sponsored by the Wenzhou Peoples’ Alliance for Smiles, and 79 children received surgery.

Alliance for Smiles would like to thank Mission Directors Barbara Fisher, VP for Africa Affairs, and Quentin Li; Colin Wong, VP for China Affairs; the Pascaud Foundation; The Clinton Health Initiative; supporting Rotary Clubs and Districts around the world; The Smile Train; The China Population and Welfare Foundation; The Wenzhou Peoples’ Alliance For Smiles; Howard Ho, and all of our volunteers, donors and supporters for helping to make these missions a success.

Mission Schedule for the Remainder of 2012

September 15th-29th: Bijie, Guizhou, China

October 27th-November 10th: Zunyi, Guizhou, China

AfS VP of Treatment Centers Receives Award from ACPA

Alliance for Smiles’ Vice President of Treatment Centers, Dr. Karin Vargervik, has received the American Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Association’s (ACPA) Honors of the Association Award. This award is the highest recognition that the ACPA bestows and represents acknowledgement for Dr. Vargervik’s four decades of work and contributions to the field.

Dr. Vargervik has been part of Alliance for Smiles since its early days, and has been indispensible in helping to open three Treatment Centers in China.She has volunteered for seven missions to China, paving the way for the success of our three Treatment Centers there. Dr. Vargervik also won the Volunteer of the Year Award at this year’s AfS Gala.

AfS Volunteer Wins Nebraska Leadership Award

Frequent AfS volunteer and long time supporter Deb McCaslin has won the Nebraska Leadership Award from the Nebraska Press Association. McCaslin was honored for her work as the publisher of the Custer County Chief, a newspaper with 120 years of history covering the events of 13 Nebraska counties. Deb has written and published many articles about Alliance for Smiles. The Nebraska Press Association Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks to protect free speech and impartial reporting in Nebraska’s news outlets.

‘Enlightened Substance’ Art Exhibition in Hong Kong

Antoinette Rosan, Zi-Jia Huang, Manuela Paul-Cavallier, and Sophie Raynaud are four artists who collaborated on an interactive Exhibition in Hong Kong’s Pacific Place this summer. As a gesture of generosity and gratitude to life, the artists joined together to create a unique sculpture that was sold by auction to benefit Alliance for Smiles at the Gala of the Rotary Club of Wanchai. Our many thanks to these wonderful, creative artists and to the Rotary Club of Wanchai for its continued support of Alliance for Smiles since our early days.

Current AfS Fundraisers

Alliance for Smiles has four long-term fundraisers underway that are easy ways to help bring a smile to a child: car donations, used clothes and goods donations, wine purchases, and Dining for Smiles.
If you have a car that you no longer want, consider donating it! Donate for Charity is an organization that will pick up the car, running or not, and give the proceeds of the sale to us! Simply call 866-392-4483 for more information.

If you live in the Bay Area, Community Thrift in San Francisco is another way to help out while cleaning out your closet! Simply take your used clothes and household goods to the store, located at 623 Valencia Street in San Francisco, and tell them you want the proceeds of the sales to go to Alliance for Smiles.

Have a birthday, wedding, or housewarming coming up but don’t know what to give as a gift? Purchase some wine! Mark Gendron of JK Estates has promised to donate $50 from every case of wine sold to our supporters. You can even have a custom label designed for your event! Cases range from $110 to $128, and wine can also be purchased by the bottle. To order, please go to www.bargainsonwine.com/afs

If you’re looking for a way to help AfS in a fun and personalized way, consider holding a Dining for Smiles event! A Dining for Smiles event can be literally anything you want – past events have included a wine tasting, an African-themed dinner, a scarecrow stuffing party and the ever-popular Superbowl party. If you are interested, contact us; we will be more than happy to send you printed materials, posters, banners and more!

If you would like more information on any of our fundraisers, please contact the office at 415-647-4481 or events@allianceforsmiles.org


Alliance for Smiles will be holdings its 8th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Gala on Saturday, January 26th at the W Hotel in San Francisco. If you would like to receive a formal invitation, please contact events@allianceforsmiles.org with your mailing address. If you would like to receive information via email, please sign up for email blasts at www.allianceforsmiles.org

Alliance for Smiles is co-presenting a film at the Mill Valley Film Festival on October 13th at 9pm and October 14th at 5pm at the Sequoia Theater in San Rafael. The award-winning Swedish film Someone Like Me focuses on the situation of a man who grows up with an unrepaired cleft. For more information on attending the screening of this film, please visit www.mvff.com