Hello Everyone! My name is Jordan Thorp. I am 15 years old and I have a passion for helping children SMILE! Over the past seven years, I have been working on behalf of children everywhere born with cleft lips and palates, and I would like to share with you the ways in which hundreds of lives including my own have been changed one smile at a time.
7 years ago, my cousin Braiden was born with a cleft lip. We were scared as a family because no one wants their child to be born with a birth defect. However, after seeing his surgery, his comprehensive care, and finally his brilliant smile, we realized just how important this surgery really is. Over time, we began to partner with many organizations, each of which is equally committed to helping children with clefts in every way possible. These partnerships include The Smile Train, Gator Smiles, Several Craniofacial Teams in Florida, and of course The Cleft Palate Foundation.
We started out raising money at garage sales and donating whenever we could. Then we decided to approach my church and ask for “Mission Box” donations during the services. The congregation was incredibly generous and we were able to help more children through their generosity. A couple years later, I spoke there again and got an even better response. Then we decided to take it even bigger. We formed our own organization called The Smile Team and I began speaking at cheer and dance competitions all over the country. As a cheerleader I know just how important a smile is to a winning routine, so when I speak to cheerleaders and dancers around the country and see their enthusiasm to help– I am truly overwhelmed! The response from the cheer and dance community has been so tremendous and we are looking forward to speaking at several more competitions next year.
Through these combined fund-raising efforts we have been able to raise over $44,000! That money has allowed us to provide 125 cleft repair surgeries through the Smile Train, purchase and donate 125 bears through the Cleft Palate Foundation and meet the needs of numerous families through the craniofacial teams of Florida such as specialized bottles for newborns with cleft lip and palate as well as provide travel expenses for families to obtain the care their children need.
My cousin Braiden was definitely the inspiration for the Smile Team, but it was serving as a junior camp counselor for children in Florida attending a speech therapy camp that really turned this into a lifelong passion for me. I am looking to obtain a degree in Speech Pathology, so that I can continue change children’s lives one smile at a time. Please feel free to check out my website to learn more about the Smile Team at www.mysmileathon.org!