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Letter to the Editor: A smile changes everything

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Credit: Courtesy of Operation Smile

How many times have you smiled today? One of my favorite videos of all time is a TED Talk by entrepreneur Ron Gutman titled “The Hidden Power of Smiling.” According to Gutman, “When you smile, you look good and feel good,” and, “When others see you smile, they smile, too.” Gutman also cites a recent Penn State University study that confirmed that “When you smile, you don’t only appear to be more likable and courteous, but you actually appear to be more competent.”

What a true gift it is to smile.

November 30 marks the 100th day of my awareness-raising campaign where, for my senior year at Ohio State, I have been wearing an Operation Smile shirt every day! Until I graduate from OSU next spring, I plan to continue wearing an Operation Smile shirt every day.

Every three minutes, or every 1 in 500 births, a child is born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate. These children may suffer from torments, malnourishment and difficulty with speech. For too many families around the world, safe surgery is not an option. Operation Smile, the cause to which I have dedicated my last five years, is an international medical charity that provides life-changing surgeries to children in need around the world.

For me, volunteering for Operation Smile has truly been the greatest joy! I have attended several Operation Smile conferences, and I have also volunteered on a medical mission to Mexico. Three years ago, I founded the Operation Smile Club at OSU. To date, we have organized 41 events and have raised $10,637, which is enough to provide over 44 life-changing surgeries!

The reason why I am so utterly in love with Operation Smile is because of all the extraordinary humans that I get to meet and call my family. It melts my heart to see people truly dedicated to taking care of these children.

This holiday season, I hope you always remember: a smile changes everything!


Timothy Zhu

Fourth-year in economics

Founder and president, Operation Smile Club at OSU

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