Charter Sophomores Taking Initiative: 1 Smile at a Time


Graphic by Thomas Bogota

Valerie Questell, Clubs Editor

   A nationally recognized program, helping to treat a rare condition, has arrived in South Florida. Sophomores Peyton Goetz and Yole Jean have taken the initiative to spread Operation Smile in our area. Peyton Goetz, head of the South Florida branch, has brought this unfortunate topic into light; spreading awareness. Goetz and Jean have many opportunities to offer to students: volunteer hours, service projects, leadership roles, and many more. 

   Operation Smile is based on a hereditary birth condition also known as cleft lip and palate. This condition causes infants to have difficulty speaking and feeding. Although this condition is treatable, the expenses of palatoplasty can leave surgeons operating on 6 to 12 month year old’s for a minimum of 2 hours. This factor being, Goetz and Jean have a designated mission for this program and its members. Peyton Goetz, sophomore, couldn’t have explained it better: “Operation Smile’s mission is to unite students’ efforts, strengths, and compassion to help children in remote locations access free and safe cleft lip/palate surgeries.” Operation Smile is a widespread national organization that is spreading awareness to prevent these patients from malnourishment.  

   Cleft lip and palate can occur 1 in 700 births, leaving this condition generally common. Maximum effort is required to fulfill this project and Operation Smile is here to improve this circumstance. Sophomores Peyton Goetz and Yole Jean are representing Operation Smile with dedication and passion, “We decided to start Operation Smile in an effort to call attention to children living with cleft conditions. When left untreated, these conditions can leave children with severe difficulty speaking, breathing, and eating; many actually suffer from malnourishment since it becomes impossible for them to eat.” 

   After the procedure, most patients endure speech and verbal therapy. Because of this condition, patients with cleft lip and palate struggle with reading and communicating themselves. Shining light onto palatoplasty can give these patients the reliable resources to get this procedure done, and with the help of Operation Smile, almost 35,000 surgeries are performed a year. Goetz and Jean have taken the initiative to spread this outstanding goal to their hometown.

   Operation Smile has ameliorated cleft lip and palate patients’ lives. Years after the procedure, doctors have observed these patients over time and have unforgettable reactions. Raising awareness for this unfortunate cause has changed lives all over the word. Having this procedure done can save cleft lip and palate patients, and as Operation Smile says “Changing Lives 1 Smile at a Time”.