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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Operations Add 63 Smiles in Yaroslavl

Jennifer Kaplan, project director of Operation Smile in Russia, an international nonprofit organization, has just added 63 more smiles to her list.

Kaplan coordinates a program in which volunteer specialists come to Russia to perform surgery for children with cleft palates and lips, congenital defects which deform smiles and cause speech and eating problems if left untreated.

In the latest mission, a group of 31 U.S. medical specialists returned from Yaroslavl on June 17, where they operated on 63 children. The total is lower than the 103 operations performed on a similar mission to the city last year, but Kaplan says this is a good sign.

"Because of last year's mission, there were less children who needed operations," she said.

Next year, Kaplan said, she will organize a mission in Taganrog in the Rostov region in Russia's south. "I feel we've done a lot of work in Yaroslavl, and we have decided to move on," said Kaplan.

According to Kaplan, the cost for each operation is $1,475. Operation Smile has performed over 800 operations since it started here in 1992.

For information on sponsoring a child for an operation, call 243-9319.