Ella Bjerre is a dynamic 16-year-old who runs Operation Smile Club at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes. Her club is dedicated to spreading awareness and fundraising for the surgeries needed for children born with cleft lips and/or palates. They will be starting a project to create individual “smile bags” full of fun games and essentials for children who receive surgery through Operation Smile.
Every 10 minutes, a child is born with a cleft lip or palate, which can cause speech problems, malnutrition and social difficulties. Ella showed photos of her own history, in infancy before and after surgery, and 6 years later as a smiling child.
Operation Smile is working in 30 countries with volunteers training health professionals and educating families. Over 19,000 patients have been treated. The Chadwick Operation Smile Club is raising funds to spread awareness and contribute to this international effort. The club has service projects, a weekly newsletter, and is active on social media. Projects have included hand-illustrated cards for patients and a Club website with weekly newsletter and go-fund-me section. They plan to enlarge their scale next year with a donation drive service project and obtaining funding for school projects. They have raised $700 from Rotary Clubs and plan a bake sale and funding their Etsy page.