Brooke Burke Charvet has always been one to give back and as a mother she is teaching her children to do the same. As Smile Ambassadors, Brooke and her husband volunteered to work a medical mission in Guadalajara, Mexico and they brought their two children Rain and Neriah to see firsthand what its like to volunteer for such an organization.
During the mission, the family met with children suffering from cleft lips and cleft palates, whose parents were too poor to help them receive the surgery. It was during this particular mission that the Charvet’s waited and played with kids who were being prepared for this surgery. Following the surgery, the family was able to witness the transformation.
Brooke shared her experience saying, “I watched a miracle today… I felt the power of selflessness in the presence of the Operation Smile team. You cannot imagine what community service is like until you live it, but it changed my life forever and opened my heart in a whole new way. I feel a moral obligation to give back and do something important, but I had no idea how much I would get back from the experience.”
“We went to the hospital and it was unbelievable. It’s really hard to teach [kids] community service and philanthropy. So to go and show [my daughters] and engage in the whole process . . . was an amazing experience. It’s hard to find worthy words.
“At first, the kids were like, ‘Really, Mom? We’re going to a hospital in Mexico?’ But I was trying to teach them the meaning of it and it was life changing for all of us.”
Brooke said that it was her daughter Rain who really felt emotional towards this whole experience. “She said, ‘Mommy, those kids are just like us, they just look a little bit different. I don’t want anyone to be mean to them.’ It’s a tough message but it was very meaningful.”
Dvery three minutes, a child is born with a cleft. One in 10 of those children will die before their first birthday. The international children’s medical charity works in more than 60 countries to provide free surgeries for children born with facial deformities, builds medical infrastructure in developing countries, and trains local doctors so they are empowered to treat their own populations. To increase awareness about the urgency of the problem, Operation Smile launched a global campaign entitled change forever featured on www.operationsmile.org/30.