SHS volunteers: Operation Smile Club

Alexandra Simon and Natalie Hu collect and pack food donations for a local food pantry.

Two students at Scarsdale High School, Natalie Hu and Alexandra Simon, are volunteering to improve the lives of children around the world and are encouraging their fellow students to join them. They got involved through an Operation Smile Club during their freshman year.

Operation Smile is a global nonprofit dedicated to providing free reconstructive cleft surgery to areas of the world where it’s needed most. The Operation Smile Clubs encourage leadership, service, advocacy and education. “I became a really involved and active club member because I loved what Operation Smile was doing and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Simon.

Through just one of their fundraisers, Hu and Simon raised $1,000 for Operation Smile, allowing five people to receive free reconstructive cleft surgery and related care.

“The thing I love most about working as a volunteer is the feeling of accomplishment after an event. It takes a lot of time and effort to organize events, and it all pays off in the end,” Hu said.

Simon and Hu also take an active role in helping their own community. Over the summer, they held their first food drive at SHS and collected more than 250 food items that were donated to a local food pantry.

When asked about the food drive’s success, Simon said, “We got such a great turnout from it that we are going to make it an annual event!”

Operation Smile revolutionized cleft surgery globally in 1982. With nearly four decades of experience as one of the largest surgical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile staff, its private-public partnerships and thousands of volunteers have improved the health and dignity of patients with cleft conditions, helping them to better breathe, eat, speak and live lives of greater quality and confidence. The nonprofit provides patients with additional surgeries, dentistry, psychological services, speech therapy and other essential cleft treatments.

For more information, visit or follow @operationsmile on social media.

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