Operation Smile plans for the year

Elise Franco

“Changing lives one smile at a time.”

The slogan describes the objective of Operation Smile, a worldwide organization that performs surgeries on children born with facial deformities.

The Kent State chapter is one of 450 student associations working to raise money and educate students about the values of commitment, leadership and volunteerism, according to Operation Smile’s Web site.

Lauren Sheldone, co-president of the Kent State chapter, has been involved with the organization for a year.

“I decided to become involved because I was looking into clubs on campus, and I heard about Operation Smile through my major, which is speech pathology and audiology,” she said.

Operation Smile raises money for children in other countries to receive surgery for facial deformities, such as cleft palates and cleft lips.

“This was appealing to me because it is rewarding knowing that doing something small can help change someone’s life.”

The student organization raises money by selling things such as sweatshirts and T-shirts, as well as candy and pens, said Marcia Thomas, secretary of the Kent State Chapter.

Thomas said they are also planning more involvement in the community this year.

“We are having a Homecoming Extravaganza, and something called the Spooky Speech Spectacular,” she said. “Speech clients will come and help with activities, set up a haunted house and give out candy.”

Thomas said in the past two and a half years, the organization has raised $2,400, and last September their money gave 10 children from all over the world the opportunity to have life-altering surgery.

The group meets every two to three weeks, and members pay a $5 due each semester.

“Kent State students should get involved in Operation Smile because it is a nationally known organization open to all majors on campus,” Sheldone said. “We hope to see a lot of new faces this semester.”

Thomas agreed and added that it’s a great resume builder as well.

“It looks really good to get involved in campus activities and on resumes for future jobs and graduate school applications,” Thomas said. “It’s not time consuming, and it feels great to know you’ve helped to changed someone’s life.”

No definitive time or date has been set for the next meeting, but any student interested in joining the Kent State Chapter of Operation Smile should e-mail [email protected] or Marcia Thomas at [email protected].

Contact general assignment reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].