My name is Jessica Barragato and I am a senior at Concordia University Texas. I am about to finish up and receive a bachelor’s degree in Global Public Health which is very exciting for me since I am about to embark on my career journey. To get me started on that journey, I have been lucky enough to be a part of this amazing organization, Austin Smiles. Through them, I have been able to learn so much about non-profits and just how much they contribute to society and public health in general.
Being a health major, I have always been aware of what cleft lip and palate were, however, Austin Smiles shines a light on just how much it can impact a child and what proper treatment and healthcare can do to change and improve their well-being both physically and mentally as well as socially. Throughout the semester, I have been able to learn and assist with everything that goes into making all of this happen. From connecting with businesses for events and donations to posting on social media to bring this mission to the public eye, all of this work makes such a huge difference in the lives of others. Even if you do not get to hear it from them personally, just knowing that someone’s quality of life has been changed positively is so rewarding.
There are many factors and organizations that contribute to public health. Nonprofit organizations play one of the most vital roles however in building that healthy community by providing critical services that most cannot access as easily as others. In most cases, nonprofits like Austin Smiles understand better than anyone else what their community needs and the best methods to meet them. Austin Smiles is truly a strong, well-resourced nonprofit that is connected to the decision-making infrastructure in their communities as well as global communities that can amplify growth and opportunity for all. I am forever grateful that I have been able to be a part of all of the amazing work Austin Smiles does and cannot wait to utilize what I have learned to continue to make the world a better place!