Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in the world, a baby is born with a cleft lip or palate. If left untreated, more serious medical problems could develop. Thankfully, the operation to reverse the birth defect is simple and quick. Unfortunately, many people in under-resourced countries do not have access to the 45-minute surgery. That’s where Operation Smile comes in.
Operation Smile travels the world, providing free surgeries to those in need. And because there is no cost for the families, the organization is always looking for help. Junior sociology major Catherine Morgan had always admired the work that Operation Smile does and wanted to help it in achieving its missions, so she started a chapter of the organization at the College.
“I want to support the organization’s efforts in changing people’s lives with just a simple surgery,” Morgan said. “The goals of the the College’s Operation Smile Club is to simply raise awareness and fundraise for the international organization. We will be holding on-campus awareness and fundraising events to get students thinking about the organization and supporting us.”
The club is new this semester and in its beginning stages, which is why it’s the perfect time for students to join, according to Morgan.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to partake in community service for such a great cause,” Morgan said. “The club is completely new and started by upperclassmen, so the club will be left to underclassmen in a few years. If they join now, they have the chance to develop leadership skills in the near future.”
The club is in its beginning stages, so joining now means that members will play a large part in getting events planned and organized, according to Morgan.
“Also, students have opportunities to go on mission trips. Applicants for mission trips must be members of the club for a year prior to applying, so those who join soon can apply to go on mission trips next summer,” Morgan said.
Morgan said students should expect to see more on campus from TCNJ Operation Smile, including fundraisers, collection drives and a speaker from the international organization. The club’s logo is a smiley face, so Morgan said, “If you see a smiley face on campus, just think: Operation Smile Club.”
Operation Smile meets every other Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Social Sciences Building, room 325. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Feb. 12.