Carmel graduate starts nonprofit to promote oral health around the globe

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CARMEL, Ind.– It was the words of a sermon where a Carmel High School student found inspiration.

“You were made for more.”

Emily Deldar remembers how this phrase inspired her to live up to a calling.

For Emily, it was a calling to make an impact on the world, something she would set out to do as a 15-year-old junior.

Getting to that point, Emily says, started with the choice to simply be involved.

That wasn’t an easy decision for the girl she referred to as “anxious Emily,” a new freshman in a big school. Her sole focus on academics left her feeling weighed down.

She credits her freshman center principal for helping turn that around.

Now leaving high school, the distinguished graduate’s list of extracurricular activities include unified sports captain, NHS member, Key club member and freshman mentor.

“One of my biggest life mottoes is to not wish your life away, and to be where your feet are,” said Deldar.

She never wanted to grow up too fast, but instead make the most of each moment.

That’s part of the reason the end of her high school journey was difficult.

“We could not find the light at the end of the tunnel,” she recalled. “I couldn’t find the light at the end of the tunnel. I was looking for it.”

She knew her class needed a proper goodbye. It took 55 students and 56 hours of editing.

The video she produced allowed students to reflect on their time at Carmel High and provided closure that many needed.

“I just decided, why can’t we be our own light instead of looking for light at the end of the tunnel?” she said.

It wasn’t the first time Emily decided to take action.

Nearly two years before she turned her tassel, Emily sat down to listen to the sermon that shaped her mindset, “You were made for more.”

“I literally just did some Google searches, world problems and things that I could solve. I saw that one half of the world’s population does not have stable and consistent access to a toothbrush.”

Emily decided to help.

The next Google search was how to start a nonprofit. She then reached out to local organizations for guidance, filed paperwork with the IRS, and reached out to dentist offices for donations.

The first donation of 400 toothbrushes went to Malawi.

“I was able to get off my feet and start. Then I got a board of directors which was the girls off of my lunch table at the time,” she said.

Now, World Smile Mission sends toothbrushes, toothpaste and other dental supplies to seven countries around the world.

It began with a decision to do what you can to make the most of every moment.

Perhaps that is advice we can all learn from.

“In times of uncertainty you can choose to reflect, you can choose to stand your ground, you can choose to make a plan for your future of the things you can control,” she explained. “Life is as fun as you make it.”

Emily heads to Purdue in the fall. She will continue to run World Smile Mission alongside the organization’s partners. The nonprofit also hopes to expand.

For more information check out World Smile Mission here.

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