Article by: Shin Won Kim
Though not given much recognition in school, many members of the ISM community have worked with out-of-school service organizations that have consistently put a smile on children’s faces. Operation Smile, for example, is an organization that has been rapidly gaining popularity.
According to their website, Operation Smile is a non-profit organization that aims to “provide free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial deformities throughout the globe.” With many supporters from around the world, ranging from celebrity like Jessica Simpson to corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, they have proven themselves as one of the “most prominent charities for children in the world”.
Not only does Operation Smile have many famous supporters, but they also have committed supporters from our school and even with our fellow IASAS school, the International School of Bangkok (ISB). Senior from ISB, Eugene Samrualhant described that the club within the school holds “entertaining events that interact with the student body” along with other schools. Events such as “advocacy week” help raise money by selling raffle tickets with the chances of winning prizes ranging from newest iPhone to holiday coupons. Eugene feels, though, that the “most remarkable and successful project” is the “Color Miles for Smiles”, which is essentially a color-run that raises money for Operation Smile. He personally felt that it was indeed the most enjoyable event as he got to “[run] with [his] friends and [make] new ones” as well. He further emphasized “the feeling that we’re all doing this to fulfill the missing piece of a kid’s smile is the best feeling ever.”
In the past few years, our very own Bearcats have gotten increasingly involved in Operation Smile. Senior Robbi Sy, for example, has been heavily involved in promoting and participating in Paint-a-thon’s for Operation Smile for several years. Though it is not an ISM-sponsored activity, many ISM students have participated and enjoyed the event. Robbi emphasizes that the Paint-a-thon is an incredibly fun and “non-traditional way of service” because you not only get to “express your creativity” through the paintings, but also get an opportunity to relax and enjoy a day of painting with your friends. It is anticipated that there may be even more ISM participation in the upcoming Operation Smile events as it is now the service partner of ISM’s National Honor Society.
With upcoming events such as the Operation Smile Paint-a-thon and NHS’s annual Senior Auction in February, there are quite a few opportunities for everyone to get involved. Support Operation Smile, and put a smile on a child’s face.