photo credit: Wynona R

You’ve seen them on TV. You squirm a little when their pictures appear, the awkward smiles making you feel a little uneasy. You change the channel to find something more pleasing to look at.

I’ve done it before as well.

I’m referring to children who have improperly developed clefts. While cleft palates are a large problem, it’s the cleft lips that are so visible to others. Smile Train exists to provide affordable and accessible surgery to children throughout the world who suffer from this problem. For around $250 per surgery, volunteer doctors are able to repair this disfigurement and put the child on the fast track to better health, social acceptance, and opportunity.

Additionally, the organization assists local doctors in acquiring the equipment and skills necessary to perform these surgeries for children in their area. In their eight and a half years of doing business, Smile Train has provided free cleft surgery for over 340,000 children.

My wife and I are considering this for a possible Christmas gift later this year. What better way to celebrate Christ’s love and life than by using our resources to bless another person’s life? I’d take that over a video game system or iPod in a heartbeat.

So next time you see these kids on TV, don’t change the channel—instead, think about what you can do to help the problem and make a difference. And don’t forget to be grateful for your smile! :)

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