Operation Smile helps underprivileged children with cleft lips and cleft palates

Operation Smile is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children with cleft lips and cleft palates

Courtesy of Operation Smile

Operation Smile is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children with cleft lips and cleft palates

Last year, East students Daniella Schreiber (‘19) and Danny Kahn (‘19) began a club called Operation Smile in order to make a difference in the world.

The purpose of this club is to raise money for the worldwide charity, Operation Smile, which helps underprivileged children in third world countries with cleft lips and cleft palates get the medical assistance they need. Cleft lip and cleft palates are birth defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy. The money raised by the club will specifically be used to send teams of doctors to third world countries in order to provide surgeries for people with cleft lips and cleft palates, or to purchase medical supplies or even fund surgeries for the children in need of help.

“It is good to know that I am making a difference and contributing my help to the lives of many children in the world,” said Schreiber.

Schreiber said that she decided to start this club after she saw a commercial on television about Operation Smile. The organization immediately sparked her attention and she began doing research on how she could contribute to its cause. Operation Smile’s website indicated that this club was offered in other schools, schreiber said, which made her want to start a club at East so she could get her classmates involved to make a difference.

Schreiber noted that she connects personally to Operation Smile’s mission because her mother grew up in Columbia, and one of her mother’s friends in Columbia suffered from a cleft palate. She said that knowing someone who suffered from this motivates her to do whatever she can to help others who are struggling. Schreiber also said that last year she was taking driving lessons with Cornelly Driving School and her driver instructor said that he had a friend suffering from cleft lift. Her driver instructor said that Operation Smile paid for his friend’s surgery and changed his life for the better.

“It felt good to know that I made a difference in someone’s life. This goes to show that you can impact a person’s life without even knowing it,” said Schreiber.

In the two years since the club was started, it has raised a total of $1000. This was accomplished in part through a cookie dough fundraiser where they sold tubs of cookie dough and raised about 600 dollars. In addition, the club had fundraisers at restaurants where they raised $30 and received a few generous donations.

This year, the club plans to sell bracelets that say “always have a reason to smile” and send all the proceeds to the charity. Kahn said they began selling these bracelets at Eagles tailgates and plan on continuing to sell them at different events.

After Schreiber and Kahn graduate high school, they hope their club will be passed down to each of their younger brothers, Zach Schreiber and Mason Kahn, in order to keep their club going. Kahn said they they currently have 30 members in the club but they hope to gain more members next year so more people can help raise money. Ultimately, the co-founders hope to bring smiles to the faces of more children.