Academy of Holy Angels Students Raise Money for Crucial Medical Care of World Smile Day

Academy of Holy Angels Students Raise Money for Crucial Medical Care of World Smile Day

A child's smile is one of the first milestones new parents have to look forward to, but for parents of children with a cleft lip or palate, that journey is a long and arduous one. To help these families students at The Academy of the Holy Angels celebrated World Smile Day on October 5, with activities to promote Operation Smile, a non-profit organization that provides free corrective surgeries for individuals with cleft lip and palate.

Students used the holiday, first established in 1999 by Harvey Bell, the graphic designer who created the iconic yellow smiley face, to remember the people around the world who find it physically difficult to share a smile with others. In doing so, the young women shared their own smiles at a photo booth set up in the Student Commons during lunch.

The school also hosts an active Operation Smile club moderated by Laura Kraytem, an AHA alumna and current Italian teacher. Student members participate in activities like World Smile Day, but those who attend an Operation Smile International Student Leadership Conference can also qualify for a mission trip.

Those who are ultimately chosen for missions find themselves working in one of several countries around the globe. Along with their peers, Operation Smile volunteers interact directly with the patients, many of whom are children. Volunteers are also charged with presenting the patients' families with vital information about dental hygiene, CPR, tooth brushing,  nutrition, oral rehydration therapy, proper hand washing, and burn care. In some cases, volunteers help the doctors and nurses in the hospital, and sometimes have an opportunity to observe the surgeries.

"Last year, the students raised $9,000 by hosting events that included pizza and pancake fundraisers. The students also went on medical missions in Ghana and Malawi," said Kraytem. Kraytem also participated in an Operation Smile mission to Mexico over the summer.

Academy of the Holy Angels
315 Hillside Ave., Demarest, NJ