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Volunteer Story

What's Your Reason?

Volunteer Story

What's Your Reason?

In honor of National Volunteer Week, observed April 22 to 26 in the US, we asked our volunteers to share why they love serving others as part of the Operation Smile family. Here’s what they said. 

Dr. Dane

Dane Hoang, Dentist 
"My family and I managed to arrive in the U.S. as immigrants because there were compassionate people who helped us refugees get here. So, this is how I pay it forward for those who helped us.  

When many of these children are born with cleft conditions, they are shunned from society because of the stigma. In Vietnam, there’s a belief that your whole family is bad luck if a child with cleft condition is born. So, when a child receives surgery, it’s like they are whole again. You’re changing their life, their family’s lives, the community and the whole country."

Linda James Plays with Aime, a Patient

Linda James, Nurse 
“Volunteering with Operation Smile has enhanced my career by providing me with invaluable experiences and perspectives that contribute to my personal and professional growth. I truly have become a better person and nurse because of those experiences. 

Besides the amazing memories, I have been gifted with close friendships with many of my team members. The bonds we build throughout a surgical program are truly incredible.” 

Judy holds Juan

Judy Nguyen, M.D., Anesthesiologist 
“Sometimes, I’ll come back to a country, and I will see the kids I’ve taken care of a couple years back, and they recognize me, they remember me.  That’s the best feeling in the world to see them grow up and it’s just great. That’s why I keep doing it. Making one impact at a time." 

Manat Talwar

Manat Talwar, Student Volunteer 
“I joined Operation Smile because I wanted to help others, but Operation Smile is the one that's actually helping me in becoming a different version of myself, a better version of myself. I have learned so much and spoken to people from across the world. I have made some lifelong friendships and learned about what they're doing in their own countries, how they're helping people.” 

Ronald Worland, M.D., Plastic Surgeon 
“I have worked with Operation Smile for about 10 years. It is an honor to work with talented surgeons from around the world, especially under the auspices of outstanding anesthesiologists and nurses. Traveling with these teams across the world allows me to continue working on my surgical skills, and an opportunity to experience many countries. The joy witnessed by every mother following surgery correction continues to bring me to tears. I am a very lucky man and blessed to be a part of an organization that does this precious work every day.” 

We Love Our Volunteers
Thank you to our incredible volunteers! “Your skills and passion ensure we offer each child the same quality care we would expect for our own children,” said Kathy Magee, co-founder, president and CEO, Operation Smile. “Thank you for all you do to bring new smiles and a better quality of life to those we serve around the globe.” 

Our Network Is 6,000 Strong
Did you know Operation Smile is one of the world’s largest volunteer-based nonprofit organizations? When you become an Operation Smile volunteer, you join a network of more than 6,000 people from around the world, who are all committed to the same cause: bringing safe surgery and comprehensive care closer to home.  

Interested in learning how you can help? Find out how you get can involved.  


It takes as little as $240 and as few as 45 minutes to provide life-changing surgery and a bright, beautiful new smile to a waiting child.