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Students helping to make the children of south Wales smile

24 May 2018

Make a Smile group
Image courtesy of Make a Smile

A second year Cardiff University medical student is bringing happiness to the children of south Wales thanks to a fancy dress project.

Make a Smile is a student-led initiative founded by Luke Morgan, and run in partnership with Cardiff Volunteering, which sees volunteers visiting a range of children’s hospital wards, centres, events and birthday parties dressed as well-known beloved children’s characters.

Luke was inspired to start the project after watching a video of a person dressed as Tinkerbell using sign language to talk to a child.

Since starting in 2017, the project has grown and now involves 99 students from Cardiff University, as well as a number of students from nearby St David’s College. Explaining the involvement of volunteers from the College, Luke said: “I used to attend St David’s College and was aware how difficult it is for students to get experience to back up their applications to medical school and I felt Make a Smile was an ideal way for them to get some additional experience.”

The group visit hospitals and community clubs where they chat with the children and have their photos taken, as well as playing games, singing and reading stories to the children. Reaction from parents and carers to the group of students dressing up as cartoon and story characters been positive.

Speaking about his volunteering experience at the University, Luke said: “Volunteering has greatly enhanced my University experience. I’ve had fantastic support from the University that allows me to run Make a Smile alongside my studies. I feel being able to provide such happiness to children in a stress-free environment has a knock-on effect for me. It gives me great enjoyment and reduces my stress, while helping make me well-rounded.

“Founding and volunteering with Make a Smile has led to a number of opportunities that I never expected. I’ve visited a huge range of children and have been able to undertake leadership and British Sign Language training”

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