Norfolk, VA (Vocus) December 29, 2009
To mark the end of its 27th year of providing new smiles for children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities, Operation Smile, a worldwide children’s medical charity, has compiled a review of this past year and the lasting impact the organization has had on the children, families and communities in which they work. In keeping with Operation Smile’s steadfast mission to “mobilize a world of generous hearts and transform lives around the globe,” the organization’s work resulted in several landmark moments in 2009 including providing over 13,500 children with new smiles, the most in any single year since the organization was founded in 1982.
“Giving a child a chance at a new and productive life is at the core of what we do every day and is what motivates us to build sustainable programs around the world so more children can be healed,” said Dr. Bill Magee, Co-founder and CEO of Operation Smile. “We are excited and energized by what the future holds and we will continue to work hand-in-hand with our volunteers, foundations and partners to build the infrastructure necessary to provide safe medical care around the world.”
The top ten highlights for Operation Smile for January – December 2009 include:
1. Thousands of medical and community volunteers provided over 13,500 children new smiles and over 21,000 patients with free physical exams – the most children treated in one year in the history of the organization.
2. Over 160 local and international medical missions were conducted across 29 countries. In keeping with Operation Smile’s long-term vision of building a model of local and sustainable care, 64% of our medical missions this past fiscal year were managed and performed by local foundations and in-country volunteers.
3. Expanded its humanitarian efforts into new villages, cities and countries around the world to help bring hope to communities that are in desperate need of high quality medical care. From Uzbekistan and Rwanda to the Dominican Republic and India, Operation Smile held inaugural missions in 25 locations that helped heal the smiles of 2,763 children.
4. Conducted its largest medical mission to date in India, treating over 500 children in Guwahati over a two-week period. The mission to Guwahati was part of a larger public-private partnership created earlier this year with the Indian government and the Tata Group to help treat over 30,000 children in the state of Assam who are suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate.
5. Celebrated the 20th year of providing new smiles for children and young adults in Vietnam with a landmark medical mission entitled “A Journey of Miracles.” In 1989, Operation Smile was the first NGO invited back to Vietnam and helped normalize relations and improve MIA/POW initiatives. Twenty years after its first medical mission, over 300 volunteers from 23 countries came together for 10 days to conduct 16 simultaneous missions across Vietnam. “A Journey of Miracles” resulted in almost 9,000 patient procedures including 1,383 medical examinations, facial reconstructive surgeries for an unprecedented 868 children and young adults and over 6,600 dental treatments.
6. Operation Smile held its annual International Student Leadership Conference at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. More than 400 students from 16 countries came together to explore the concepts of leadership, philanthropy, and service. These future leaders, many of who attend medical missions, share their life-changing experience from the field. Read some of these stories at http://www.operationsmile.org/living_proof/student-stories/
7. U.S. News & World Report honored Operation Smile Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee as one of their 2009 America’s Best Leaders. In this 5th annual issue, the Magee’s were recognized for “their innovation and achievements, and dedicating their careers to improving the lives of people across the globe.” See more at: http://www.usnews.com/listings/best-leaders/12-bill-and-kathy-magee
8. Continued partnership with the American Heart Association (AHA) to help increase the level of basic care provided by medical professionals. As the only cleft organization that is a globally accredited International Training Organization of the AHA, Operation Smile trained medical volunteers and professionals in Basic Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support resulting in over 1,800 new certifications worldwide.
9. Continued investment in Comprehensive Care Centers in China, Colombia, Honduras India, Jordan, Morocco and Vietnam. These care centers are the brick and mortar proof of how local Operation Smile foundations and medical professionals work together to provide year round treatments for local children.
10. The Operation Smile Final Mile brought together approximately 2,200 elementary school students from 167 schools across twelve states to help raise funds and awareness as part of an annual fitness challenge. Learn about the 2010 Final Mile at http://www.operationsmile.org/finalmile.
With a presence in over 50 countries, Operation Smile has transformed the lives of over 140,000 children since 1982. Through the tireless work of thousands of volunteers and partners, Operation Smile continues to focus on improving care and patient safety, increasing capacity in partner countries, promoting worldwide volunteerism, and laying the infrastructure to support local year round care.
About Operation Smile (http://www.operationsmile.org)
Our Mission: Operation Smile mobilizes a world of generous hearts to heal children’s smiles and transform lives across the globe. Founded in 1982, Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is a worldwide children’s medical charity whose network of global volunteers are dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. Since its founding, Operation Smile volunteers have treated more than 140,000 children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities and the organization has a presence in over 50 countries. In addition to contributing free medical treatment, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its partner countries and leaves behind crucial equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency.