Connecting Smiles

“...parents of children with special needs are uniquely qualified to help each other” Kerr & McIntosh, 2000 Connecting Smiles is a family-to-family support program for families of children currently receiving care at the University of Minnesota Cleft & Craniofacial Clinics. This program matches parents of children with cleft and craniofacial conditions with an experienced mentor parent to provide informal emotional and informational support.


Connecting Smiles aims to creates partnerships between families that foster support and family wellbeing

Who is a Mentor?

  • His/her child has been a patient of the clinic for 1+ year

  • Flexible availability

  • Willing to spend time talking with another parent

Who is a Mentee?

  • Individual seeking additional support

  • May be experiencing a new diagnosis and/or a stressful event

  • Not in current crisis, or in need of immediate assistance

How it Works

Mentor: Experienced families may be contacted by clinic staff members to volunteer as a Mentor Family.  

Mentee: Individuals interested in receiving support may self-enroll via use of an online enrollment tool.

Once the enrollment tool is completed, your information will be shared via a secured connection with authorized clinic staff members. This information will be used to complete the matching process. Matching will be completed by identified clinic staff members, who will follow recommended guidelines create the best match possible. Follow-up contact will be made via email to ensure a successful match. Once matched, the relationship among matched pairs is expected to evolve, in a way that is unique to each matched-pair.

Clinic Information

6-296 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612-625-2495

Connecting Smiles