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50 for 50 Day 39: Operation Smile

June 25, 2011

It’s my 50th Birthday Celebration, Day 39. Let me explain: because I feel so lucky and have pretty much everything I could ever need, I am asking people to get involved with charities, if they are so inspired, in lieu of any fabulous birthday presents you were planning on sending me (or not).

I am featuring a different charity every day for 50 days leading up to my 50th birthday to give you plenty of chances to get involved. I started on May 18. I wanted to give a voice to different good works around the globe. If you ARE inspired to take action, please leave me a comment and let me know that you did. This is all I want for my birthday – to spread some love and kindness. One thousand thanks.

How could I have gotten to Day 39 and not featured Operation Smile yet? I follow them on twitter and love to get their updates about how many “smiles” (operations to correct cleft palate and facial deformities) that they have made possible in their missions around the world.

Cleft palate is a serious issue. Children with this congenital condition often have a hard time eating and talking. They are often shunned or treated as freaks. Here’s a video that will bring tears to your eyes (just warning you…)

From their website:
Since 1982, Operation Smile — through the help of dedicated medical volunteers — has provided free surgeries to children around the world. As one of the most prominent children’s charities in the world and with a presence in over 60 countries, we are able to heal children’s smiles and bring hope for a better future.

Thanks to the generosity and spirit of volunteerism shown by our supporters, we heal thousands of children per year and, today, more than 160,000 girls and boys have a new chance at a new life because of our work.

Here’s the donation page. They are also looking for volunteers.

Previously featured organizations:
Wheels for Humanity
National Security Archive
Books for Africa
Seed Savers Exchange
MAP International
The Fresh Air Fund
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Impact Personal Safety
Kristin Brooks Hope Center
Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
Light Up the World Foundation
Planned Parenthood
Doctors Without Borders
Heifer International
Team Rubicon
The Carter Center
Bikes Not Bombs
Friends of Maddie
Surfrider Foundation
United Through Reading
Operation Shower
The Liz Logelin Foundation
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Kids Vs Global Warming
Help a Mother Out
Direct Relief International
Accelerated Cure for Multiple Sclerosis
Women for Women
Epic Change
Amnesty International

  1. July 4, 2011 17:57

    Thank you for featuring Operation Smile. Their work obviously means a lot to me, and one of the highlights of my life was photographing a dental mission when I was in Hanoi in 2008. It’s a dream of mine to go on a mission, but since I’m not a medical volunteer, I hate to just take up space.

    • July 5, 2011 11:25

      I’m amazed at the difference they can make with surgeries that seem so simple and straightforward – 45 minutes, and a child’s life is changed forever.

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