Student Volunteer: Joanna Thompson
School: International School Bangkok (ISB)
As part of the Operation Smile club at ISB, we put on various runs throughout the year, as well as a booth at the ISB International Family Fair (IFF) and our own advocacy week. All of these events had to be planned and initiated by the club. At runs I came early in the mornings to set up and help sign people in and make sure that they paid to run. It was also our job to help others throughout the run whenever they needed any further clarification. During IFF and our advocacy week we also volunteered at the tables and helped to initiate activities such as bake sales and shirt sales.
Operation Smile is a large group as well as a great cause, which means that a lot of collaborative work has to be done in order for our goals to be met. During all the events listed before, I worked with other members of the club to brainstorm ideas and ensure that events went as planned. We worked together to make posters and raise money throughout the year, and without that team work the club would be very different.
In terms of perseverance and commitment, Operation Smile is the kind of club that require full dedication, whether it be during events such as runs, during IFF or during advocacy week. When volunteering I believe that I put forth my full effort and stayed for as long as I was needed and then some to make sure that if anything else came up I could help.
Operation Smile is a global nonprofit medical service organization, and while our school's programme focuses on children within Thailand, by donating money for surgeries for said children, we not only help better their lives, but we are able to raise awareness about the cause as well. Children who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities are all over the world, and many do not have parents that can afford surgeries. However, Operation Smile changes this. By raising awareness we make sure that the students and teachers and adults of ISB are aware of this problem and may even further support the cause in other parts of the world.
Throughout this school year I learned a lot from being a member of Operation Smile. I was able to improve my people skills, especially during the Operation Smile runs where I had to collaborate with others as well as greet and aid those who intended to run. I also learned more about the cause itself and how even the smallest change can make a huge impact on someone. Overall I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful cause.