Updated: 02/07/2013 4:04 PM
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Kim Valentini, founder of The Smile Network, had an “ah ha” moment while watching Oprah and was inspired to start an organization that has made an unbelievable difference to 2500 kids around the world.
Smile Network International is a locally based non-profit humanitarian organization that provides life-altering reconstructive surgeries to impoverished children and young adults around the world. Smile Network will be celebrating 10 years in 2013.
Smile Network was founded by Kim Valentini in May, 2003. Kim’s idea was to dedicate 5 hours a week to the cause with a goal of doing one mission site in Mexico each year. The universe had a much bigger plan for Kim and Smile Network.
In ten years, Smile Network has 24 surgical sites, in Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Kenya, Tanzania, Armenia, and India, Ecuador and Uganda. Smile Network recently completed its 50th mission and has provided 2,500 new smiles through their free surgeries.
Kim recently returned from a mission site this week in Lima, Peru where 60 children received free surgeries.
Smile Network brings together medical and non-medical professionals from the public and private sectors to provide care and facilitate humanitarian efforts that impart dignity and improve the quality of life for children whose needs would otherwise go unaddressed.
In as little as 45 minutes and $500, Smile Network can provide a free life-changing surgery to child born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. Without the support of donors, they could not do what they do and change these children’s lives.
$500 Pays for an entire surgery
$250 Pays for a child's surgical supplies
$100 Pays for a child’s medication
$50 Pays for care kits given to each child
$20 Pays to house and feed a child’s parents
Many people would like to participate in a mission and there are limited non-medical positions available. A Global Ventures program was created that allows people to participate in a global adventure and a medical mission.
Trekkers pay their own trek fees and airline tickets and agree to fundraise money to pay for the mission they will participate in.
There are two adventure travel programs
-- Hiking the Inca Trail and Machu Pichu in Peru in July
--Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa in October.
There is an informational meeting this Tuesday to learn more and sign up. The Inca Trail permits sell out by end of February so people to confirm for the permits.
Global Ventures Information meeting
Tuesday, February 12
Smile Network Offices
211 North 1st Street. Minneapolis
For more information go to www.smilenetwork.org or call 612-377-1800
SMILE NETWORK GALA
Celebrating 10 years at Smile Network Gala at Aria in Minneapolis.
Tickets on sale now at smilenetwork.org/events or 612-377-1800