Wish For A Smile Trust (WFAST)
The Wish For A Smile Trust (WFAST) is a public health initiative of the New Zealand Association of Orthodontists (NZAO). Established in 2011, the Trust makes specialist orthodontic treatment available to young New Zealanders who would otherwise be unable to afford it due financial hardship.
The Trust received an incredible kick start of $180,000 when a 2011 story on Campbell Live generated a record number of donations to help Christchurch boy Evan Hill. As this far exceeded what was needed to correct Evan’s teeth – and his sister’s – the team at Campbell Live pledged the excess funds to the WFAST to help other children across New Zealand gain access to specialist orthodontic care.
Convergence helped broker the relationship between Campbell Live and the Trust – and continue to generate follow-up stories for Evan and other recipients of the Trust.
To date dozens of young people have received life-changing orthodontic treatment. We have helped share the stories of Amber Shaw, Rene Harvey, Jackson Shatford-Banks, Flynn Bell, Tylah Elliot and Shiquitta Mitchell via local and national media coverage.
We continue to provide the Wish For A Smile Trust, and its patients, with media advisory and public relations support. Our work includes writing community updates, letters and proposals, internal newsletters, brochures, and assisting in the development of the NZAO brand and key messages.
The WFAST programme is available to areas serviced by participating members of the NZAO, who donate their equipment, materials, expertise and time.
Applications to the WFAST are based on:
- The severity of the orthodontic problem identified by a dentist or dental therapist
- Demonstration of family financial hardship
- Patient must be aged between 11 and 18 years at the time of application
- Applicants live in an area serviced by a participating WFAST orthodontist
- Willingness on the part of the child to have, and care for, orthodontic appliances
- Applicant must be willing to perform 20 hours of community work during the course of their orthodontic treatment
Those who are interested in applying for orthodontic assistance should seek advice from their dental surgeon or school dental therapist.
To access the full criteria, information and application forms for the Wish For a Smile Trust, please visit www.orthodontists.org.nz/wishforasmile.
Student Volunteer Army
As one of the key organisations assisting Canterbury’s recovery after the February 22 earthquake, the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) required strategic and practical communications assistance.
Convergence was able to provide 24/7 media advice and guidance to the team behind the SVA and to its founder, Sam Johnson.
We also helped promote GeoOps – an exciting new technology which made a free phone call or text service available to the public that automatically linked their needs with small teams of SVA volunteers operating in the field. GeoOps greatly improved and streamlined recovery efforts during February and March 2011.
By making information about the SVA and GeoOps’ technology widely available, those who wanted to be part of the SVA or required help from them were able to do so.
Thanks to co-sponsor Mercury Energy, a Convergence client at the time, we provided several hundred hours of PR services to the SVA free of charge. Our work was recognised by the New Zealand Public Relations Institute in 2012 when we were co-winners of the national Supreme Award.
We continue to provide Sam Johnson with media advisory and Convergence partner Leigh Harris is a trustee of the Volunteer Army Foundation.