High School cheerleader Jordan Thorp of Gainesville, Florida has plenty of reason to smile.
Six years ago, Jordan’s cousin Braiden was born with a cleft lip. Braiden underwent corrective surgery, and Jordan saw firsthand how his life was forever changed by the simple ability to smile. After witnessing just how powerful a smile can truly be, Jordan and her family decided to partner with the Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft charity. The Smile Train provides free cleft surgery to poor children in developing countries, giving them a second chance at life. On behalf of Smile Train, Jordan has spoken at church services, started a letter-writing campaign and participated in garage sales to help raise money and awareness. Thanks to her efforts, and most recently through the support of cheerleaders throughout the state of Florida, the Smile Team has raised $21,500 to fix 85 children’s smiles.
How did cheerleaders get involved? That’s where Jordan came in! In October 2012, at just 14 years old, she founded the “Smile Team,” an organization dedicated to helping children born with facial abnormalities discover their smiles.
“As a cheerleader, I use my smile all the time,” said Jordan. “But I know there are many children here in the US and around the world that are born with cleft lips and palates and cannot smile. That’s where you and I can make a difference! With just a little help, we can change the life of a child forever.”
Jordan started by asking fellow cheerleaders in the state of Florida to join her Smile Team. In support of children born with cleft lips and palates, she spoke at the State Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona Beach to more than 5,000 cheerleaders and dancers and raised over $2,000! Not long after, Jordan partnered with Varsity Spirit Fashions to design a Smile Team uniform to wear when promoting the Smile Team at competitions!
Jordan is inspiring cheer squads across the country to join her Smile Team. Her goal is to fix 100 smiles by the end of 2013. A donation of just $250 fixes one child’s smile, so why not ask YOUR cheer team to join? We know smiling is such an important part of being a cheerleader—but it’s important for EVERYONE to able to smile!
For more information about the Smile Team and how to join, please visit Jordan’s website at www.mysmileathon.org. You can see a video of Jordan speaking to cheerleaders and dancers at a competition in Orlando here: http://www.mysmileathon.org/Photo_Gallery.php.