Students work to collect 11,000 toothbrushes for Guatemalan children

Feb 25, 2010

Students in the “Study and Serve in Guatemala” program have launched a campaign to collect 11,000 new toothbrushes by April 1, for Guatemalan children. The campaign, called Project SONRISA, means “Project Smile” in Spanish and was created by Sonja Bontrager, assistant professor of Spanish and chair of the Foreign Language Department at Newman.

In 2008, Newman students made their first delivery of toothbrushes. More than 22,000 toothbrushes were delivered to La Labor, an impoverished community on the outskirts of Guatemala City, where members of Newman University’s founding religious order the Adorers of the Blood of Christ have created schools, medical and dental clinics, and community health and environmental protection programs for local people. The Sisters requested that Newman students in the program bring toothbrushes to distribute to the children. Financial support for Project Sonrisa allows Newman students to purchase toothpaste for the children and pay the extra baggage fees airlines now charge. To view photos of the first delivery visit

Anyone wishing to donate new toothbrushes may place them in boxes in the Dugan Library and Campus Center, and in the Campus Ministry Office in Sacred Heart Hall. To have toothbrushes picked up, call Brittanie Bockman at 316-516-3864. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to Project SONRISA, c/o Molly Fox, Newman University development director, 3100 McCormick, Wichita, KS 67213, phone 316-942-4291, ext. 2174. For more information, contact Bontrager at 942-4291, ext. 2158 or [email protected].