Miles for Smiles raises $9,500

April 14th, 2022

Despite the famous rivalry between the two universities, Texas A&M and the University of Texas also have a history of collaboration for good causes. One such example took place at Dallas’ Exall Park on April 9 with Miles for Smiles.

Benefiting Texas A&M College of Dentistry, Miles for Smiles is an annual event hosted by the UT Dallas Pre-Dental Association. People are invited out to spend some time walking or running, getting exercise, and raising money. The event began in 2009, according to Ryan Eldin, president of the predental group, but was on a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Towards the beginning of the year, something like [last] October, we start taking donations,” Eldin says. “We have this months-long process where we go out to businesses, dental offices, places to eat, and we talk to business owners if they’d like to donate. Then we gather all those donations and we host this event.”

The money raised by Miles for Smiles goes to the college’s Social Services Dental Care Fund. This year, between donations from businesses and the event itself, Eldin says they raised approximately $9,500.

“That is for patients of students here at the school who might run into some issues mid-treatment,” says Tony Keller, administrative associate with the Office of Social Services. “Let’s say that a patient has budgeted for a filling, and then that turns into a root canal or something they weren’t prepared for. They would ask our office for financial assistance.”

While walking is the point behind Miles for Smiles, the event also offered a variety of games, raffles and snacks for attendees to enjoy. All in all, according to several people who attended, it was a great experience.

“Everyone feels super loving, it feels like a very safe and loving environment,” says Laela Bedjaoui, an 11th grader from Plano West High School.

Samrah Ali with UT Dallas’ predental group adds, “It’s great we were able to come back and do this event after a few years because of COVID.”

— Caleb Vierkant