Operation Smile International (OSI) by Hilo Laxa
Founded and based in Virginia, Operation Smile is an international medical charity that has provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other dental and facial conditions. It is one of the oldest and largest volunteer-based organizations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to surgical care. Since 1982, Operation Smile has developed expertise in mobilizing volunteer medical teams to conduct surgical missions in resource-poor environments while adhering to the highest standards of care and safety.
PNAVA became active with Operation Smile International Volunteerism and started the commitment and initiated donations to help fund the OSI mission by organized fundraising events. Past president Norma Bariso volunteered for the Operation Smile telethon on WTKR channel 3. Past president Bella Nocon joined the operation Smile Mission in 1989 in Naga City and volunteered in Bucharest Romania in 1992, Russia in 1996, and Tegucigalpa, Honduras in 1999.
In 1992, past President Precy Custodio and Jo Sabile volunteered OSI mission in Naga City. Precy and Eva Jana went OSI mission in Iligan City in 1993 and in 1995 they both went to the mission in Bacolod and Davao City. Precy Custodio joined the OSI mission yearly. In 2012, past president Norma Bariso went to Silay City Negros and in Cebu City as an observer and guest of OSI. Both Norma Bariso and Bella Nocon remain active in volunteerism and supports fundraising events for OSI. Past president Justine Ford initiated a brick donation in the OSI headquarters in Virginia Beach. Past president Virlita Delima and Hi-lo Donato Laxa, current president of PNAVA, continue to help bring smiles to those affected children by supporting Operation Smile with monetary donations from fundraising events such Zumbathon for Smiles, Walkathon for Operation Smile and unselfishly volunteer their time for a good cause.