Press appearances

Creator and Founder of 1IN700 LLC, Zack Rodetis-Urenda talks about how his personal journey brought him to found an international B Corporation.

 

1. Channel 9 - Denver.

 

Inside an old house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Denver, Colo., two-year-old Willow Tonacchio is experiencing something new.

Willow was born with a cleft lip, a cleft pallet, and a cleft gum.

“It’s not a disease or a syndrome it’s a birth defect,” Michelle Tonacchio, Willow’s mother said.

“She had to have surgery when she was three months old to repair the lip, and at 10 months old surgery to repair the roof of her mouth,” she added.

“When she’s about 10 she’ll have another surgery to repair her gum, and then she’ll probably get a lot of braces—two or three rounds of braces to help straighten out her teeth.”

On Thursday, Willow was at her photo shoot.

“Those pictures are precious,” Michelle said. “I feel like every single one he showed me captured her personality, her beauty and her smile.”

He, is Zack Urenda, and he’s more like Willow than it might seem.

“I feel like every time I’m meeting one of these kids I’m staring at a version of myself,” Urenda, who was also born with a cleft lip, said.

Willow’s photoshoot is part of Urenda’s mission to raise awareness for people born cleft affected.

“One in every 700 babies are born with a cleft lip, cleft pallet or both,” Urenda said.

“We thought it was a third world country thing, not something that happens in the U.S.,” Michelle said.

Urenda hopes his pictures of Willow will help the word realize it’s not how a person looks that matters, but how they make us feel.

“Yea we look different, but different is not bad,” he said.

“Those pictures are precious,” Michelle said. “I feel like every single one he showed me captured her personality, her beauty and her smile.”

He, is Zack Urenda, and he’s more like Willow than it might seem.

“I feel like every time I’m meeting one of these kids I’m staring at a version of myself,” Urenda, who was also born with a cleft lip, said.

Willow’s photoshoot is part of Urenda’s mission to raise awareness for people born cleft affected.

“One in every 700 babies are born with a cleft lip, cleft pallet or both,” Urenda said.

“We thought it was a third world country thing, not something that happens in the U.S.,” Michelle said.

Urenda hopes his pictures of Willow will help the word realize it’s not how a person looks that matters, but how they make us feel.

“Yea we look different, but different is not bad,” he said.

 
 
 

2. CBS - People Making A Difference.

 

This interview was one I would grow to love so much. I met a man at a Smile Train charity event in the Los Angeles area. He asked what I was doing that brought me to this event. Before I knew it, he was handing me his card and saying that I needed to be on TV to share this with the world.
A few days go by and I receive a call from him telling me to pick up a call from an “818” number. That was the moment I first spoke to Lisa Sigell from CBS. Click the link to see me and Entry Lake Everly, explain why 1IN700 is important.

 
 
 

3. Society17 Interview.

 

"To some, it could be to inspire. To some, it could be to inform and educate. To others, it could simply be to exhibit. Understanding is subjectively reserved for the viewer, but the process starts with a photographer directing our focus. Zack Rodetis-Urenda is one using his shutter for good.

When we met Zack, he was tucked away in an editing bay scanning his eyes across three synchronized computer screens. Each screen displayed a different one of his photographs, all portraits of children. Their happiness beamed from the screens- eyes twinkling and smiles stretching so large that you barely noticed the hint of a scar that they all share on their upper lip.

 

Each of those children were born with the craniofacial birth defect known as Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate. Craniofacial clefts are a result of the tissues of the face not fully developing during pregnancy. As one of the most common birth defects in the world, there are roughly 200,000-300,000 cleft-affected babies born every year.

Fortunately, the condition is successfully correctable with surgery, though a scar is inevitable. Because of that subtle reminder of “abnormality”, assimilation into the “normal” world of symmetrical beauty and photoshopped perfection can be difficult. (Though what about our world is really normal at all?)

That’s why Zack has devoted his life to helping others like him."

(continued interview in link)