VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – One Virginia Beach middle schooler who describes herself as caring, creative and kind is putting all those qualities to work to help her fellow kids get through the pandemic.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping people. It makes me feel good,” 11-year-old Lingeris told Operation Smile, a global charity that offers free surgeries to people born with a cleft lip (tear in their lip) or cleft palate (gap in the roof of their mouth).
The sixth grader at Princess Anne Middle School is raising awareness and funds to help children while encouraging safety amid COVID-19 by tye-dying and selling face masks. All proceeds will go to Operation Smile, which helps people like Lingeris' mother, Jenna, who was born with a bilateral cleft lip and cleft palate.
“I’ve had 11 surgeries to correct my cleft. I began talking to Sophia about my condition when she was 5 years old. I’m so proud of her and what she’s doing to support the cleft community,” Jenna told the nonprofit.
The nonprofit says being born with a cleft condition can lead to health problems including difficulty with eating, speaking and hearing.
Lingeris has sold hundreds of her tie-dyed face masks to help her cause.
“I’ve had orders from people in Illinois and Florida. So far, I’ve sold 200 masks and raised $2,000. I’m still filling orders,” said Lingeris. “We’ve only promoted the items on social media and by word of mouth. I’m so happy to have support for this effort especially this month as July is National Craniofacial and Prevention Awareness month."
Click here for more information on Operation Smile.