Nicole Smith Brings Operation Smile to Life

“Operation Smile” is a nonprofit medical service organization that sophomore Nicole Smith brought to Rock Ridge as a club. The organization strives to provide children cleft palate surgeries.


Nicole Smith

Founder of the “Operation Smile” club sophomore Nicole Smith poses with fellow club members sophomores Anna Dillah and Juliana Noriega as they finish making their Valentine Day cards for kids who underwent cleft palate surgery.

Sarah Baig, Photo Editor

Operation Smile is a nonprofit medical organization that was founded in 1982. This year, Nicole Smith brought it to Rock Ridge as a club hoping to make a difference. The organization’s mission is to make it easier for kids with cleft lip and cleft palate to eat, breathe, speak and more. 

Q: What is the club Operation Smile?

Nicole Smith: Operation Smile is an organization that helps kids from less fortunate areas get cleft palate surgeries, and they have many fundraisers and activities that go toward helping those children.

Q: What inspired you to start this club at Rock Ridge?

NS: I have always wanted to be a dentist, and this club especially is important to me for that reason. I love Operation Smile’s message and I really wanted to make sure everyone is confident in their smile.

Q: What were some setbacks and how did you overcome them?

 NS: Some setbacks we are currently facing are that there’s only four members in our club, and it’s really hard to spread the word to everyone about our club. But we’ll continue to advertise our club and mention it to everyone so we can get more people to join. Gaining members has probably been the hardest thing we’ve done so far.

Q: What has the club done so far?
NS: We have made Valentine’s day cards for the children that just underwent the surgeries and we´re planning to start a sending hope drive, in which we collect toothbrushes, toothpaste, masks, etc. for the kids who underwent the surgeries and the kids from other countries.

Q: What do you plan to do in the future?
NS: In the future, we’re going to plan to do a fundraiser, we just have to get it approved. [We are also planning] more cardmaking and activities that benefit the kids that just underwent surgeries.