BRIGHAM CITY -- A service project for Operation Smiles put a smile on the face of Youth Leader Rachel Kennedy, past president of Box Elder High School's Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).
Kennedy and two other students, Miranda Stocks and Stephanie Harding, along with advisers Janet Stowwory and Jennifer Gunnell, recently traveled to Chicago for FCCLA's 2010 National Leadership Conference and returned home with a gold medal for their chapter's service project of sewing hospital gowns for Operation Smiles.
Kennedy attended the 2009 National Conference in Tennessee and came home determined to do a chapter service project under her leadership during the 2009-10 year.
The club choose to help Operation Smiles, a children's charity treating facial deformities such as cleft palates all around the world.
Kennedy explained that all operations are donated. Mothers bring their children to the doctors in their best clothing hoping their children will be chosen for the operation. Operation Smiles has very few hospital gowns, so the children are operated on in their best clothing.
The project began in the fall of 2009. Kennedy was on Studio Five explaining the project and the need for donations.
The girls contacted local businesses for donations, and by November 2009 they began their project using their lunch hour at school to cut out and sew the hospital gowns.
Brigham City's Civic Improvement Club helped put the bias tape on around the neckline for the girls who did not know how to sew.
In addition, the girls sold churros during the lunch hour and had a bake sales to raise money.
The club raised $240, the amount needed for one surgery, and sewed 70 hospital gowns and tied two fleece blankets to be given to the children who had the surgeries.
"The project really helped out the club. When the girls saw how small the gowns were and the pictures with the children of open and cleft palates, it made them more aware of how blessed we are," Kennedy said.
The competition consisted of a presentation board that explained each step of the project.
The presentation boards connected together on top of a spinning Lazy Susan with a globe on top that pointed out different missions for Operation Smiles. In addition, the girls had a 10-minute laptop presentation where they explained the project in front of judges.
The Box Elder FCCLA club competed at regional level and received a gold medal. They then competed at the state level on March 24-25 and received first place where each of the three girls in the competition received $300 and $250 for travel expenses.
The club received a gold medal at the National Conference in Chicago, Ill., held from July 4-8.