By Scott Thenhaus ’15
“Is it worth it to make a kid smile so they can feel normal again?”
That’s what Nick Rohner ’08, worship/team ministry coordinator, asks students this semester. He helps lead one of Campus Ministries’ justice teams, which organize service events and special projects for everyone on campus. This year, Rohner’s team is raising money to fund reconstructive facial surgeries for children around the world with cleft palates and other dental problems. The donations to the “Buy a Smile” Campaign will go to Medical Missions for Children, a respected organization that provides surgical and dental services to poor children and young adults.
The team’s goal is $900, and they are already nearly two-thirds of the way there. Earlier in the semester, they had a Valentine’s raffle—with prizes including an Applebee’s date, a Thistle’s gift card, tickets to Pella Cinemas and singing telegrams. The team is also planning a dodgeball tournament for later in the semester.
“Even $1 or $5 goes a long way for people internationally,” says Rohner. “When we choose comforts instead of helping others, it is a sign of our selfishness. But, on the flip side, we have to opportunity to be very generous.”
The justice team fizzled out about 10 years ago, but before he graduated in 2008, Rohner and other students decided to bring the group back to provide an on-campus outlet for international relief. Past projects have included collaborations with the International Justice Mission, Not for Sale, Heifer International, World Vision and many others as the team focused on human trafficking, global poverty and North African drought.
Rohner hopes college students realize that they can make a difference in the world. “In Scripture, we are called to love the poor and those who can’t stand up for themselves,” he says.
To donate to the cause, contact Nick Rohner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-628-7605.