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Operation Smile Volunteers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


Every day I wake up and give thanks.  And today is no different.  There is so much to be thankful for and today, so much more to care about.  #Philanthropy is defined as ‘the love of humankind’.  So starting today, let’s all embrace #philanthropy while we take care of ourselves, our families, those we care for, our neighbours who need us and reflect on #healingtheworld and what we can do about it.

At Operation Smile, you often read that we cannot help heal the children we serve without two key groups of people – our medical and specialty volunteers and our donor family.  They embrace #philanthropy giving their time, talent and treasure to help others in need.

I came across this picture, taken a year ago today, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR).  It’s not the clearest photo, but look at the smiles on this wonderful group of talented volunteers who all gave up their March Break in 2019 to help 102 children get their new smiles – and deliver hope to their anxious parents.

Operation Smile Volunteers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Today, this same group – from the DR, Canada, Italy, Paraguay, Venezuela, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and Colombia are now on the front lines of ensuring our health and safety during this COVID-19 pandemic.

They know what we are facing and also what they are facing.  Yet, they get up each day, give thanks and go to work – because they love you.  They are urging us all to stay home and practice social distancing, and for some, isolation, so they can do their jobs.  They want you to be safe and healthy and we sure want them to be safe and healthy.  Our children waiting for smiles are counting on it.

While most of our international missions are delayed for the time being, we have spent years training and educating local teams to deliver safe, effective and timely cleft surgery and care.  And at this time, we are still operating where we safely can with our local #heroes caring for our children.

Our Co-Founders, Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee made a promise in 1982 that stays true to today…  “We will never leave you behind.”

To all those working on the frontlines to keep the world safe, we salute you.  To everyone here in Canada and around the world, we love you.

Let’s give thanks, and share that #love.

Keep safe and healthy!

Mark Climie-Elliott Signature
Mark Climie-Elliott, CFRE
CEO and Chief Smile Officer
Operation Smile Canada

Partners and volunteers made this story possible. Thank you.