Hello, my name is Charlotte and I am student at Malibu High School. I have been part of the Operation Smile Club for the past two years. But until I went to the International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC) in Ireland this summer, I had no idea how important this organization truly is.
Operation Smile is an organization that surgically repairs cleft lips and palates on children and adults in countries with developing economies. It’s hard to imagine that a surgery costs only $240 and takes only 45 minutes to preform can change a life forever. It’s even more difficult to comprehend that 1 in 700 kids are born with a cleft lip or palate and most cannot afford or do not have the resources to have it repaired. In many countries, children that are born with this facial deformity are perceived as outcasts and are not accepted as members of society. I heard stories of babies being left in ditches to die because they were born with a cleft, stories of people in their thirties or forties that had never left their house because they are ashamed of their appearance. On the contrary, I saw videos of children looking in the mirror for the first time after surgery; I saw countless before and after pictures; I got to hear the founders, Bill and Kathy Magee, talk about the origins of their organization. I went to Ireland knowing minimal amounts of information about Operation Smile and by the time I left, I knew I had found an organization that I want to commit to.
After I got home from Ireland, I began planning a fundraising project with, Merchant Society, a jewelry company based in Los Angeles producing jewelry handmade by female artisans in Rajasthan, India. Together we designed a necklace that can also be worn as a bracelet to sell for Operation Smile. I collected many generous donations from friends and family to cover the costs of production. As a result, every penny made from selling the necklaces goes directly to Operation Smile.
So here’s how it works. The minimum donation to receive a silver necklace is $35, and the minimum donation to receive a gold plated necklace is $40. Please sign the Guest Book with the following information: the quantity and color of necklaces that your donation covers! Any and all donations are accepted; every penny counts! Thank you so much for participating in my project! I can’t wait to see how far this goes!
Best, Charlotte Jackson