Last updateFri, 11 Oct 2013 3pm

Back You are here: Home News News Guadalajara Putting smiles on kids’ faces

Putting smiles on kids’ faces

U.S. television personality Brooke Burke, who visited Guadalajara this week to participate in an Operation Smile medical mission, said she was truly moved and humbled by the experience.

The program visits Guadalajara twice a year to carry out free reconstructive surgeries for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

Burke, along with her husband and eldest daughter, helped evaluate some 300 children, of whom 100 were scheduled for surgery at the Instituto Jalisciense de Cirugia Reconstructiva between June 17 and 21.

The cost of such an operation at a private institution in Mexico can run as high as 75,000 pesos.  The free surgeries are carried out by highly qualified medical volunteers who are mobilized across the globe.

Wrote Burke in a blog this week after her visit,  “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.”

Burke has been an ambassador for the program for the past four years.

In her blog she highlighted an 11-month-old boy named Angel, at whose side she stayed through the surgery and recovery. “Somehow I felt connected to Angel and I felt the fear and nervous energy from his family … I kept imagining he was my own child and I was so grateful to be able to assist in this life change for him. I was honored to be part of a trusted group that would forever change Angel’s life.”

The mother of four children, Burke is a former model and winner of season seven of Dancing With the Stars. She has co-hosted the 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions of the Miss America pageant.

Operation Smile carries out surgeries on around 600 of the 4,000 children born in Mexico each year with cleft palate disfigurement.

The program has a wide global reach. After Mexico, in this month alone, missions will go to China, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Colombia, Kenya, Vietnam and Honduras.

To learn more about Operation Smile, how to become involved or how to donate money, go to

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