Camille Alvarez and Alliance for Smiles are both beneficiaries of an enlightened community service project for eighth graders at Camille’s school in Sacramento.
The Arrupe Project is intended to empower students to contribute to their community. As Camille describes it, “for our eighth grade project, we were asked to fundraise for a nonprofit organization of our choice, and I picked your organization, because it stands for a cause close to my heart. I had a cleft palate when I was a baby.”
When Camille was a year old, she had an operation to correct her cleft palate. Last fall, she started the eighth grade. To launch herself on her Arrupe Project, she went to her computer and googled “cleft palate repair organizations.” Up popped Alliance for Smiles. She liked that we, too, are located in California. She contacted us and threw herself into thinking up ways to raise funds.
She decided to sell two different things and let everyone know that all of the proceeds would go to Alliance for Smiles. With the help of her grandmother, she prepared batches of lumpia, Filipino-style fried spring rolls. At an open house at her school’s church, she sold her homemade lumpia to parishioners. “Everyone in my school likes lumpia a lot, so I didn’t really have to pitch it.” She also made soap which she simply called “soap for smiles.”
Camille was very motivated because, “I want to support the doctors who are helping children with cleft. I want to give back.” Her hard work paid off, and her campaign was an impressive success. Eighth grader Camille Alvarez sent Alliance for Smiles a check for $800.
Her caring for others won’t end with fundraising. “I want to be a doctor, probably an ENT or anesthesiologist.” There’s no doubt she’ll make it. She has the drive, the dedication, she’s good at science and math. And she knows she wants to help others. She is determined to give back. “Go Forth And Set The World On Fire” is the motto of Camille’s St. Ignatius Parish School in Sacramento. Camille certainly is actively doing that.
She still has high school, college, and med school ahead of her. In the meantime, she is “doing a lot of music stuff.” She plays the guitar, ukulele, piano, and says, “I’m going to start learning the violin.” She also crochets scarves and hats.
And get this . . . here’s what this generous, caring teenager wrote in her email to AfS: “Thank you for letting me fundraise for this amazing organization.” What a treasure she is. Wouldn’t you think it’s Camille who deserves all the thanks?