BY MARY WICOFF
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.
Also, she said, “They learned that a small contribution of making a doll can help a child in need.”
By the end of the project, Jones said jokingly that the girls wanted to keep their dolls.
The troop has done other projects, including providing blankets to residents at Colonial Manor and donating 20 bags filled with birthday supplies (cakes and gifts) to the Oakwood Food Pantry.
Besides helping others, they participate in educational ventures, such as going to the planetarium at Parkland College and attending a ballet performance. On May 3, they’re going to Springfield for Girl Scout Week.
Although the troop has Oakwood in its name, its members come from Danville schools and from home schools.
Treadway has been a leader for more than 30 years.
The girls involved in the Smile Doll project were: Cambree Asmar, Ashley Audo, Lauren Bealer, Abigail Bealer, Bailey Bryan, Hannah Carson, Hannah Christensen, Kacee Cunningham, Emily Everett, Cassie Fugate, Marlee Harper, Alyssa Hofler, Kailah Hofler, Allison Jones, Kacie Lappin, Addie Lewis, Brycie Michael, Madelyn Miller, Angelique Nasworth, Katie Robles, Zoee Sherman, Madison Stuebe, Kalie Tison, Emmalee Trover and Mikayla Whaling.
Assistant leaders are Theresa Everett and Debra Hofler.
Learn more at http://www.operationsmile.org/
Girl Scouts of Central Illinois is hosting a Daily Doodle Days for girls who are interested in joining a troop. The event, which is open to parents and girls going into kindergarten this fall, will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 at Danville Area Community College, Vermillion Hall, Room 306. There will be a number of activities and staff will be available to answer parents’ questions.