Friday, July 30, celebrates the International Day of Friendship which was created with the idea that friendship between people, countries and cultures can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
This observance encourages young people to act as leaders, get involved in activities that include different cultures, and promote respect for diversity.
Chloe Wise and Sriya Krishnan are two students at Rye Country Day School that solidified their friendship through volunteer work with the global nonprofit Operation Smile. Additionally, the two girls are encouraging others to get involved and support Operation Smile’s mission to provide patients with cleft conditions the life-changing care they deserve.
In September of 2019, Wise and Krishnan were both introduced to Operation Smile in different ways. Krishnan was looking for a medical organization to join and bring to the school environment when she discovered Operation Smile. For Wise, it started as an opportunity to meet one of her favorite actors, Michael Trevino from The Vampire Diaries, on a Facetime call. Trevino is a long-time advocate and ambassador for Operation Smile.
“At the time, I just wanted to meet someone from my favorite show but little did I know that this call would change my life and open the door to my involvement with Operation Smile,” Wise said. “Sriya and I connected the dots about our newfound passion for getting involved with Operation Smile. We presented the club idea to our school student government and the rest is history.”
Since then, Wise and Krishnan have worked together to organize food sales and other collaborative events at their school such as a trivia night where they raised enough funds to provide five patients with free reconstructive cleft surgery and comprehensive care for health that lasts.
“Neither of us could possibly imagine starting a club with anyone else. Operation Smile has not only given us the opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives, but has also brought us closer together and made our friendship stronger,” said Krishnan.
Over the past three years, the two friends have come to learn the importance of building relationships with other young people to support a common goal.
“What makes being a part of Operation Smile so special is the friendships and relationships we are able to build,” said Wise.
“Operation Smile gives like-minded people the opportunity to connect through regional, national and international committees in order to make their goal a reality: to help its patients live healthier and happier lives.”