By Michelle Spitzer
North Broward Prep student Mia Shytle spreads smiles throughout her school and raises money for a worthy cause.
The 18-year-old senior from Parkland was always involved in school activities, but she wanted to do more. Then she learned about the national organization Operation Smile, which helps provide free medical care, therapy, and support to children born with cleft palate.
Mia knew forming an Operation Smile Club at her school would be a great fit. The club started with just eight members and has grown to more than 30 members in a year and continues to grow.
Now Mia is taking the club to a new level. In addition to spreading awareness, she wants to raise funds for Operation Smile.
“Joining the Operation Smile Club will allow students to be able to raise money for a wonderful charity that can help change the life of someone as well as to bring students together to form a sense of community on campus,” Mia said. “I love being a part of Operation Smile because not only is the organization amazing, the cause and the outcome is the biggest gift.”
The club sells Smile Pins that say, “Wear a Smile and Share a Smile.” For $2, you get two pins, one to wear and one to share.
“You can give the pin to a student who looks like they can use an extra smile,” Mia said. “The fundraiser was a success as we were able to not only raise awareness for the Operation Smile foundation with the proceeds going to children’s surgeries, but we also were to promote kindness within our school community.”
Mia feels a sense of accomplishment when she sees people around school wearing the pins, which are blue, and have a picture of a smiley face with a red heart on its lip representing a cleft palate. The bottom of the pin has the saying “Wear a Smile, Share a Smile.”
“It’s great to know that something as small as selling a pin provides the opportunity to better someone’s life through surgery and better someone’s day at school,” she said.
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- Michelle Spitzer grew up in Coral Springs, attending Westchester Elementary, Ramblewood Middle, and J.P. Taravella High. She attended the University of Florida and has been a journalist for nearly two decades. As a reporter and editor for The Associated Press and USA Today, she’s covered everything from U.S. Presidents to shuttle launches to Jamie Foxx’s New Year’s Eve party.