Creating Smiles, Improving Lives

Interning with AS – Behind the Scenes of the 35th Anniversary Documentary


Before starting the Public Relations, Media, and Communications internship, I knew that not only would this position be an opportunity to get experience, but that whatever work I produced, whether it be on a small or large scale, would contribute towards something meaningful and special. And throughout the little time that I have been with Austin Smiles, I found the way to do that.

With limited knowledge from high school, I decided to take upon the task of cutting and editing video for the 35th anniversary documentary for Austin Smiles. Through this work, I saw things that I did not expect to see: the real stories and emotions of how this non-profit organization impacts everyone involved. The language the interviewees use is one that is authentic and heartfelt.

Though, sometimes actions speak louder than words. The footage of smiles on the children and parent’s faces is what I believe to be a true reflection of what Austin Smiles has done for them for the past 35 years.

It has also been interesting to see the transparency of every person involved in this documentary. It has given the chance for surgeons, donors, and volunteers to truly reflect and share the stories of what Austin Smiles has been able to accomplish thus far and what it has done for them personally.

My time and experience at Austin Smiles has not only helped hone some of my skills but strengthen old ones that needed to be brushed up. It has also been humbling to work on these videos as I realized that sometimes it is our duty to give up ourselves and talents to help someone in greater need. Oftentimes it is needed to take a step back to contemplate on how we can do this, and this documentary ignites that thought and want to do something great for someone else.

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Anna Vallejo
Fall 2020 Intern

1 in 700 children are born with a cleft lip or palate

$250 covers the cost of one life-changing surgery

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