Operation Smile is a charity organization for children – donate non profit
Operation Smile is a charity organization for children – donate non profit
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Student Stories

Student volunteers play an important role in every international medical mission - helping to change children's lives and their own.

Operation Smile sends two student leaders and a student sponsor on missions to help educate local children and families about burn care and prevention, oral rehydration therapy, nutrition and dental hygiene. When students help children in need, they learn firsthand how they can make an impact on the world and the personal rewards gained from giving back.

There’s No Limit to a Smile
Volunteering with Operation Smile has made me a different person. My experience began four years ago during Operation Smile’s first medical mission in Guatemala. Since then, I consider myself part of the Operation Smile family, part of a team of medical and non-medical volunteers who aim to change lives around the world.
Student Aims to Comfort Patients
Spencer Wade is a 12-year-old girl with a compassionate heart. She is no stranger to combining her interests and passions with making a difference.
"You Give it Your All"
Meet Vicki Darnell, an Arizona-based nurse who has volunteered on more than 17 medical missions so far.
A Brave Young Boy in Ethiopia
Birhand told me he had been bullied by a lot of the kids back home and that the torments made him very angry. He would lash out at the younger kids by biting and chasing them, making sure they never made fun of him again. I could tell he wasn't proud of his reaction. He longed to fit in.
From A Student Volunteer to a Medical Career
Operation Smile changed me in so many ways. Today I’m in my third year of medical school and I’m working toward my goal and continuing to work to help bring new hope to children here in Paraguay.
A Journey to Understand a Smile
I tried to understand the life of someone who couldn't smile because they were too embarrassed, or maybe they didn’t feel “normal” because of a facial deformity. The more I thought about this, the more I was inspired to start finding answers to my questions. Step one: I joined the Operation Smile club at my school and began my journey as a student leader.
Connected Though a Look, a Hug
Despite the difficult year, Leslie has never given up in her determination to help Thiagu. While looking for healthcare options for his bilateral cleft lip, her doctor recommended Operation Smile's international clinic in Lima. She arrived at 5 a.m. this morning, hopeful that her son's life might take a turn for the better.
An Unlikely Friendship
Just as Luke was called in to the Operating Room for surgery, she turned to me and said, “This procedure has been tested, right?” I assured her that her son is in the best hands and everything will be great. With tears in her eyes, Priscilla mumbled, “It is my dream for him.”
Ethiopian Boy Dreams of Playing Soccer with Friends
Seged was thrilled when he heard that he was having a boy. After having three girls, he was ready to bond with a son. But hit excitement quickly turned into sadness and confusion when he saw his son for the first time – Kahsu was born with a cleft lip.
Left Alone, A Chance at a New Life
Liu Shuquan was abandoned by his parents directly after birth because of his two birth defects: a cleft lip and palate. Unfortunately, this act is not uncommon in China. Liu’s mother said she found him a few days after birth on the side of the road.
Q&A with Volunteer Photographer Devin Wilson
Devin Reiser Wilson is an Outcomes Data Fellow for Operation Smile. He has been involved with Operation Smile for nearly 6 years and volunteered on more than 30 mission during that time. During an interview on his most recent mission site in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Devin shared his experience with Operation Smile.

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