Operation Smile™: Consultants in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

On October 11, 2018, a few of our Close To My Heart Consultants embarked on what was to become an experience of a lifetime. They traveled for 20+ hours to arrive in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where they were immediately given instructions and put to work. After many long days in hot, humid, and very humbling conditions, all of these women, who are our Upline, Downline, Team members, friends, and family, would gladly do it all over again!

For over a decade, Close To My Heart has partnered with and supported the work of Operation Smile™, an international medical charity that provides free surgeries to children and young adults in developing countries born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other dental and facial conditions.

In an effort to increase our support for this cause, Close To My Heart hosted the Share a Smile Challenge last year. The winners of the contest would earn a spot as a non-medical volunteer in the Santa Cruz, Bolivia Operation Smile™ international medical mission, from October 11 through the 19. Announced in our North American Convention, the prize winners were none other than the generous and tender-hearted Avis Latimer, Holly Veselenak, and Brenda Rose. Canadian Consultant Jennifer Smith was awarded a fourth spot on the mission due to the extraordinary amount of donations brought in by her artwork donation at our Convention. (To read more about the Share a Smile Challenge and its winners, visit Operation Smile™ for the Win!)

We’ve reached out to all of our medical mission volunteers and collected their thoughts and insights into what it was like to be part of something so awe-inspiring. Here are their experiences:

Operation Smile Consultant Report #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #scrapbooking #scrapbook #charity #medicalmission
Avis Latimer (Glenn Dale, Maryland)

“I’ve always wanted to do a mission trip but figured it would happen once I retired. I wasn’t sure what kind of trip it would be, I just knew that I wanted to help others and broaden my personal perspective. Now, I know my skill set and wasn’t sure how I’d find a fit, but, as always, when you let go and let God take over, amazing things happen—like earning an Operation Smile mission trip to Bolivia! I wasn’t prepared for the wave of emotions that would overwhelm me…”   continue reading

Operation Smile Consultant Report #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #scrapbooking #scrapbook #charity #medicalmissionHolly Veselenak (Macomb, Michigan)

“It blows my mind, still to this day, that I went on a life changing mission for Operation Smile to help little babies, young toddlers, young teens/tweens and even adults, when in actuality, my life was changed. I’ll never forget landing in Santa Cruz with my mission buddies, Avis Latimer, Brenda Rose, and Jennifer Smith. We had no idea what we were about to embark on and we were all so humbled and blessed to have been the ones chosen to go…”  continue reading

Operation Smile Consultant Report #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #scrapbooking #scrapbook #charity #medicalmissionBrenda Rose (East Bethel, Minnesota)

“Some time back, Bill and Kathy Magee spoke at our Convention. I fell in love with Operation Smile, and I respect every little thing the organization and volunteers do to help children and adults that so desperately need it. It has been a dream for me to go on an Operation Smile mission…”   continue reading

One of the great things about this cause is that we don’t all have to leave our house and fly around the world to help these beautiful children. All they need from us is to make donations to make the medical missions possible. Close To My Heart is fully committed to helping Operation Smile™ receive these donations. Did you know that it takes as little as $240 to perform one of these life changing surgeries?

“Operations Smile changes lives. We can help by simply rounding up our order or buying a t-shirt or stamp set. So simple, yet it allows Operation Smile the ability to continue the very important work they do!”
Brenda Rose

With each donation from you, whether from rounding up your order or by purchasing the Operation Smile stamp set, My Acrylix® Your Best Self, you are making a difference in someone’s life.

Operation Smile Consultant Report #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #scrapbooking #scrapbook #charity #medicalmission #beyourselfstampset

You may never get to meet or see them, but these children will never forget your generous heart. To learn more about how you can help Operation Smile™, talk to your Consultant today or find one in your area by visiting closetomyheart.com and clicking Find a Consultant under the What We Do tab.

“If you’re looking for a charity to rally behind and support, this is it. You are impacting not only one life, but the lives of those who surround this person. We are making a difference one smile at a time.”
Holly Veselenak

Thank you for helping us make a difference! And a special thank you to Avis Latimer, Holly Veselenak, Brenda Rose, and Jennifer Smith for your continued support and extraordinary commitment to Operation Smile™!

“In the end, it’s about having faith, hope, love and doing what we are each led to do in order to improve the life of another.”
Avis Latimer


(Due to scheduling conflicts, Jennifer Smith was unavailable to contribute to this post.)

Recipes:

12″ x 12″ The Faces of Moses…Layout
Avis Latimer
X7242B I Heart Us Paper Packet, X7242D I Heart Us Coordinating Cardstock, X7242C I Heart Us Complements, Z4270 I Heart Us Sequins

12″ x 12″ Smiles for Miles Layout
Holly Veselenak
X7241B So Much Happy Paper Packet, X7241D So Much Happy Coordinating Cardstock, X7241C So Much Happy Complements, Z4254 So Much Happy Puffy Stickers, Z4271 So Much Happy Washi Tape, Z3230 Flip Flaps™ Memory Protectors™ 3″ × 4″

12″ x 12″ Be the Reason Someone Smiles Today
Brenda Rose
X7240B Something Fierce Paper Packet, X7240D Something Fierce Coordinating Cardstock, X7240C Something Fierce Complements, Z4221 Mink Twine

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Everyone Deserves a Smile

In honor of world smile day last Friday, we shared the story of a young man named Enok on our Facebook page. For 25 years, Enok lived in pain and isolation. He was tormented and mocked because of his severe cleft lip. With the help of Operation Smile™, it’s partners, and volunteers, Enok received the gift of a smile.

This is his story.

We share Enok’s smile with you today to bring awareness to the critical situation faced by billions worldwide who continue to suffer from a cleft lip or palate due to a lack of access to safe surgical care. Every three minutes another child is born with this condition, resulting in malnourishment, speech impediments, and social stigma.

The majority of people who lack access to safe surgical care are often the poorest in their countries, excluded from care due to economic and social barriers and residing in remote locations far from surgical sites. The truth is, more people die each year from the lack of access to safe surgery than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Through Operation Smile™, safe surgeries are provided to patients with the highest quality of care, based on the highest medical standards, no matter where they live.

Everyone Deserves a Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #beautifulsoul #stamp #stampset #charity #nonprofit #cleftlip #cleftpalete #surgerymission

Did you know that it only takes $240 USD to perform a single life-changing surgery? (Most of us reading this spend a lot more than that on a regular basis to support our papercrafting hobby!)

Since 2008, Close To My Heart has partnered with Operation Smile™, repairing smiles and reshaping lives, one person at a time. Because we support the mission of this amazing organization, with each new catalog, we design a special stamp set and donate $7 USD of the proceeds from its sales to the efforts of Operation Smile™. By purchasing the My Acrylix® Beautiful Soul stamp set, you can help give a child the gift of a smile.

Everyone Deserves a Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #beautifulsoul #stamp #stampset #charity #nonprofit #cleftlip #cleftpalete #surgerymission

Additionally, any time you place an order with Close To My Heart you have the option of rounding your order up to the nearest dollar, giving the extra as a donation to Operation Smile™. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference!

There is an overwhelming need for these surgeries. Families will travel together hundreds of miles to an Operation Smile™ mission site, in some cases by foot, and in other cases to multiple sites, to give their child the opportunity to have a surgery. Unfortunately, not everyone who comes to the mission site will get surgery. Surgeries can only be provided to those out of the hundreds of people present who need it most. Most of these people will require multiple surgeries, which means returning the next time Operation Smile™ can fund a mission in their area. Even with medical team volunteers from around the world who donate their time and skills, supplies to perform these surgeries are limited.

With your help, we can remove these financial, geographic, and cultural barriers that are impeding access to safe and well-timed surgeries. Purchase the My Acrylix® Beautiful Soul stamp set, round up your next order for crafting supplies, encourage others to do the same, or simply get on our site and make a donation directly to Operation Smile™.

Everyone Deserves a Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #beautifulsoul #stamp #stampset #charity #nonprofit #cleftlip #cleftpalete #surgerymission

Together we can continue blessing the lives of these children who need it so much!

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Operation Smile™ for the Win!

For the last ten years, Close To My Heart has partnered with Operation Smile™ in an effort to bring children around the world healthy smiles. Operation Smile™ is an international medical charity that provides free surgeries to children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other dental and facial conditions. It is one of the oldest and largest volunteer-based organizations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to surgical care.

 

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexctmh #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #ctmhoperationsmile

 

Last October, we kicked off the Share a Smile Challenge that promised to reward three Close To My Heart Consultants a spot as a volunteer on an Operation Smile™ medical mission. Unless you are a medical doctor, these non-medical volunteer positions are hard to come by and highly sought after. It is an opportunity of a lifetime, to witness first hand how our contributions and efforts can change the lives of children and the families they come from. The winners of our contest were announced at our North American Convention just this last week. So who are they?

In order to win, two of these amazing people had to submit the highest total in donations between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. The third winner was drawn at random on stage among all Consultants who submitted donations of at least $1,000 in the same time period.

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #medicalmission #charity #donation #charitable #winner #cleftpalette #cleftlip #lifechanging

In first place, with over $14,000 raised and donated to this wonderful cause, is our friend Avis Latimer, from Glenn Dale Maryland! Taking second in our Share a Smile Challenge, with donations adding up to $10,000, is Holly Veselenak from Macomb Michigan. And, our third winner, drawn at random from a set of 25 names (which means that’s at least another $25,000 raised for Operation Smile™!) is Brenda Rose from East Bethel, Minnesota.

Congratulations to these incredible women! And sincere heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in this challenge and does their part to contribute to this never-ending need.

But there is more!

Every year, as many of you know, we also raise funds for Operation Smile™ during our Convention by accepting donations and auctioning off artwork (albums, layouts, home décor, etc.) created and donated by a handful of our most talented Consultants. This year, one of these Consultants had the idea to not only auction off the completed album, but also to provide instructions for recreating the album to anyone who made a $50 donation to Operation Smile. By the end of the day, this initiative of hers had raised an incredible $19,200!! We got on the phone with Operation Smile™ right away and told them of this amazing feat. They responded by opening up another spot for her to attend a mission as a non-medical volunteer!

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #medicalmission #charity #donation #charitable #winner #cleftpalette #cleftlip #lifechanging

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when none other than Jennifer Smith, hailing from Alberta, Canada was brought to the stage and announced as the FOURTH medical mission participant winner! (You go girl!)

 

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexctmh #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #ctmhoperationsmile

 

We so appreciate everyone’s support of Operation Smile™, and want to continue to give you new reasons to talk to your customers about this donation opportunity. Starting with our new catalog coming August 1, we will be updating our Operation Smile™ stamp set with each idea book (instead of once a year), giving you three new stamp sets per year that will benefit their organization. Additionally, make sure to keep an eye out for a new Operation Smile™ t-shirt that will be available in the coming weeks—just another fun way to support Operation Smile™ so that this important work can continue.

Until then, let’s keep blessing the lives of these children who need it so much! It only takes $240 to perform a single life-saving reconstructive cleft surgery. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference.

Share a Smile #closetomyheart #ctmh #operationsmile #charity #nonprofit #shareasmile #stamping #stamps #punnypals

My Acrylix® Punny Pals Stamp Set

You don’t have to be a surgeon or a nurse to help these children; you don’t have to fly around the world or even leave your house! Operation Smile™ takes care of those parts—all they need from us, from you and me, are donations to make it possible. Close To My Heart is committed to helping Operation Smile™ receive these donations. With each donation from you, whether from rounding up your order or by purchasing this year’s special stamp set, My Acrylix® Punny Pals, you are helping them, too. To learn more about how you can help Operation Smile™, talk to your Consultant today or find a Consultant in your area by visiting closetomyheart.com and clicking Find a Consultant under the What We Do tab.

Thank you for helping us make a difference!

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