Number of Participants: 86
Hours Donated: 4
Value of Time Served: $2,907
Event Type: Children & Youth
Date: March 10, 2020
Students in Mary Zito-Farello and Mr. Victor Lam’s Art of Positive Living class at Hicksville High School have been using their skills to help put smiles on the faces of children, forever changing their lives. The class is sewing Smile Dolls for Operation Smile, an international charity that funds surgeries for children born with cleft conditions.
A child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate every three minutes. Through photographs and videos, the students learned about children born with this condition, and how many are unable to receive the medical care they need because it is too costly, far away or specialized. They also grew to understand that cases of the condition can be life threatening, and at the very least, children with the condition are often subject to social isolation and bullying due to their appearance.
According to Zito-Farello and Lam, students enrolled in the class wanted to make a difference. They began making Smile Dolls that will be donated to Operation Smile to help lift the spirits of children waiting for surgery around the world. In April, they will be sending approximately 75 dolls to Operation Smile. In addition, the class is educating other Hicksville High School students through an information campaign about cleft lip and cleft palate, spearheading awareness about the need to help over 5 million children waiting for care in 34 countries.
“Service learning is a component in the Art of Positive Living class,” said Lam of the first-year course, which enrolls 86 students between three sections. “We teach empathy and how helping and teaching others feeds positive self -worth. Operation Smile was a great organization that allows us to teach students about a condition that is not so prevalent among them.” “The goal of the class is to try to put the research into practice by building in our students the habits that will allow them to live a more balanced, healthy and joyful life,” said Hicksville Supervisor for Socials Studies and Home and Careers Dr. Rose Borda. “One aspect of the course is helping others, which builds in students a sense of happiness and strong mental health.” During the class, students explore how small, positive actions can cause a ripple effect for themselves and others. They are asked to reflect on gratitude, the little things that they are grateful for and to think about how they can take meaningful steps to help others. A fundraiser is also being organized by the Art of Positive Living students, with all the proceeds donated to Operation Smile so that more children can be guaranteed safe surgeries. To learn more about Operation Smile, go to https://www.operationsmile.org/
1: Art of Positive Living students at Hicksville High School display Smile Dolls they created for Operation Smile, an organization that helps children born with cleft lip or cleft palate conditions.
2: A closer look at one of the Smile Dolls Hicksville High School students stiched for Operation Smile, an organization that helps children born with cleft lip or cleft palate conditions.
Photos courtesy of the Hicksville School District