Friday, March 20, 2015

Reach Out Friday: Operation Smile

The third Friday of every month is Reach Out Friday! Learn about ways that you can use crochet to help others through special charities and groups. Today's featured charity is Operation Smile.

About 1 in every 700 children is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, making it a relatively common birth defect. A cleft is a split in the lip and/or the palate. This is very visually recognizable and can be very stigmatizing for those affected. Other ramifications of the condition include difficulties in speech and in nutrition. The wonderful thing is that cleft lip/palate is relatively easy to fix through surgery, especially if it is fixed early in life. In first world countries the condition is fixed as a matter of course. However, in areas where there is widespread poverty and/or lack of modern medical care, individuals affected by this birth defect do not receive and any treatment and are left to deal with it on their own. That's where Operation Smile comes in. Read their mission statement below to see how this wonderfully group is improving the lives of children around the world.

As a crocheter, you can help! It's true. You don't have to be a medical professional to make a difference in the lives of these children. Among many other ways to get involved, Operation Smile accepts handmade blankets which they give to the children in the hospital. These blankets are a source of comfort in a scary yet life-changing moment. You can find more information on blanket donation here.

Mission Statement
"The goal of every medical mission and all our surgical programs is to heal children's smiles and transform lives across the globe.

Our unique and successful medical mission model is providing safe surgeries for children around the world while building a long-term sustainable solution.

We mobilize medical volunteers across the globe to treat children with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities, and leave a legacy of trained medical professionals, surgical equipment and professional partnerships to expand local medical infrastructures and create self-reliance in low and middle income countries."

Special Considerations
Please note that the blanket info page suggests specific sizes and materials for blanket making.

Reach Out
Are you ready to help? After taking a look at this link you can go ahead and start planning your blanket! Fill it with good thoughts as you crochet. When the blanket is ready to be sent to a child in need you can print out and fill out an accompanying blanket form. The complete package is to be sent to:

Operation Smile
Attn: WAREHOUSE/Service Project
3641 Faculty Boulevard
Virginia Beach, VA 23453 USA

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