The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

April 7, 2013

Smiles across the miles

Girl Scouts make dolls for kids overseas

OAKWOOD — Girls in Troop 2885 in Oakwood hope to bring a smile to faces of children they don’t even know.

The 26 girls, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, spent three months putting together dolls for Operation Smile. The international children’s charity performs free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft palates, cleft lips and other facial deformities.

The troop leaders are Joyce Treadway and Charlette Jones.

“They enjoy doing things for other people,” Treadway said of the girls.

The troop chooses a big project every year, and this time, it was Operation Smile. The girls found information about making 12-inch-tall dolls and a pattern on the website.

The girls traced and cut out the material, sewed the dolls together, stuffed them and mailed them to Operation Smile, which will give them to children awaiting surgery for facial deformities. Smile Dolls are used by therapists to alleviate fear of the unknown, while communicating about upcoming medical procedures.

The agency needs dolls of all shades of skin-toned fabric, as the medical missions take place all over the world, including South America, Europe, and the Middle and Far East. People making the dolls generally use white, muslin, tan and light brown.

The Oakwood troop’s dolls, for the most part, were made of solid colors, but a handful sported colorful designs. The colors needed to be neutral so they could appeal to any nationality.

The girls were instructed not to adorn the dolls and not to put faces on them or write on them, Treadway said.

The girls spent three months and made more than 25 dolls, Treadway said, and finished at the end of January. Most sewed the dolls by hand, but four were made on machines.

Co-leader Charlette Jones said the girls’ mothers and grandmothers helped them with the sewing project, and the girls enjoyed working with the older women.

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