Cleft Connect Community

At Operation Smile, we believe ALL children deserve medical care, treatment, and support. And while Canadians may have access to the kind of quality health care we provide in low- to middle- income countries, Canadian children are not immune to bullying and social isolation.

We are proud to provide Canadian cleft-affected children the opportunity to connect with other children and young adults with the same lived experience and to provide opportunities to learn skills to help them excel by boosting their confidence, providing leadership training, and sharing their beautiful smiles with the world.

Cleft Connect Group in Miami
Cleft Connect Group in Miami

As part of our mission to raise awareness of cleft conditions and the challenges encountered by cleft-affected individuals and families, we are proud to provide award-winning “Making Faces” workshops. These workshops teach acting skills and improvisational games that bolster self-confidence and instill important life skills. With us, children with facial differences learn to do things the rest of us take for granted, like making eye contact and using vocal communication. They get the opportunity to engage with others, use their imaginations, and express themselves in a fun, creative and safe environment. This helps them build their confidence and makes them feel good about who they are and what they can achieve.

Our Workshops:

  • Use humour to help cleft-affected youth discover their own strengths and sense of self-worth
  • Create the opportunity for them to step out of themselves and explore the world through humour
  • Teach kids to play with words and character, express feelings, and share
  • Have discussions about differences, teasing and related issues
  • Teach basic “acting skills” that are also life skills. They practice:
    • Eye contact
    • Voice projection
    • Public speaking
    • Relaxation techniques
    • Creative story telling

What we build:

  • Creativity and spontaneity
  • Cooperation and teamwork
  • Flexibility and decision-making
  • Body language and communication
  • Self-assurance and relaxation
  • Memory and public speaking
  • Eye contact and trust

Our objectives:

  • Improve communications skills
  • Encourage self-expression and teamwork
  • Challenge and support individual capabilities
  • Build confidence and self-esteem
  • Inspire kids to follow their dreams
  • Create a caring and inclusive environment
  • Have fun and be creative

Interested in learning more?

Please email us at [email protected] to discuss booking a workshop

Tools & Resources

Online Fundraising Pages

Longest Day of SMILES

If you prefer to be a part of a larger annual fundraising campaign, please join the Longest Day of Smiles, celebrated each year in June.

mySMILE

If you have your own idea and want to share our cause with family and friends, mySMILE may be the site for you.

Cycle for Smiles

If you prefer to be a part of a fitness inspired online fundraising campaign, please join Cycle for Smiles.

Cycle for Smiles began in 2022 ending November 30, 2022. We will relaunch in the Spring of 2023. More information will be provided later!

Guatemala health care

Tribute & Memorial Giving

To honour a loved one’s birthday, special occasion or honour/remember their life with the gift of a new smile, consider making a gift in tribute or memorial.

Learn Moreabout tribute giving.
Learn Moreabout memorial giving.

Community Resources

Fundraising toolkits

Interested in hosting an event to support children born with cleft conditions? Download the appropriate toolkit here.

Posters to print

Need some posters to spread the word about your planned event?

Social media assets

Don’t forget to tag us when you use pre-approved social media assets to promote your event.

Donation Tracking & Submission Form

Download and use this form to track donors and provide us the information we need to prepare and issue official tax receipts.

Receipting “Rules”

Want to understand if gifts to your event will be eligible for a tax receipt? Use the form below.

Fundraising Guidelines & Application

Interested in conducting a fundraiser in support of Operation Smile Canada? Start here by reviewing our general guidelines that will help set you up for success.

More ways to get involved

Smile Blanket Challenge

A group activity that not only changes lives, it keeps children warm after surgery too!

Employer Matching gifts

You can make the impact of your personal gifts go even further. Check here to see if your employer has a matching gift program.

Speaking Engagements

Interested in having an Operation Smile representative (Staff or volunteer) speak at an upcoming event?

Operation Smile presents Making Faces workshops

A workshop can be booked for individuals and families living with cleft conditions OR set up as an informative school, employee or community group anti-bullying module.