Youth group donates to Smile Train

Front row from left, Ryan Packer, Julia McLaughlin, Ben Packer, Diane Garrity, Krysta Mochi (Smile Train), Nathan Curdo and Emma Garrity; back row, from left: Mike Fiorenza, Chris Stokes, Stevie Daley and Anna Rideout.                                                                     (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — On Mon­day, April 22, 2019, the Youth Group from the Parish of Transfiguration in Wilming­ton presented a donation of $5,250 to a representative from the Smile Train.

Smile Train is a charity that provides free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery worldwide for children in need.

Funds were raised as the result of three fundraising events that were held from December of 2018 through March 2019. The Youth Group hosted a St. Nicho­las Night, a Fun Fest Game Day, and a Talent Show. The group members also sold Advent calendars, with part of the proceeds also going to the donation to Smile Train.

The Youth Group is comprised of nine confirmed students of the Parish of the Transfiguration and Wil­mington High School juniors and seniors, and directed by Youth Group Leader Diane Garrity.

“I am truly blessed and grateful to be working with such a wonderful group of teens,” said Garrity.

All the teen members are honor students who also work, play sports, are catechists, and are involved in their community. Despite their busy schedules, they are all able to make time for others.

Besides their three fundraising efforts for Smile Train, these busy and giving teens have also hosted a special needs Halloween Party, volunteer at Peregrine Landing Senior Living, ran a parish picnic, and volunteer at the Wilmington Public Schools summer program. They also hope to host another summer day camp this July or August.

The Youth Group chose to donate to the Smile Train charity in part because of Smile Train’s 20th anniversary. The anniversary is prompting a 5x dollar for dollar match made by several organizations. This match will result in a $26,250 donation, changing the lives of 105 children and bringing a smile to everyone's face.

“It is heartwarming and reassuring to see what a positive difference a youth ministry group from Wilmington can make in the lives of others around the world,” stated Garrity.

Youth Group Leader Garrity is proud of all the accomplishments the teens have made, and is amazed with their willingness to take chances on themselves.

“They are all the bright lights of the future, and I know they will all be successful in whatever path they take. I am honored to have led them on this journey!”

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