by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Dylan Nelson and Alyson Pavlicek are raising money for Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgeries to repair cleft palates. They are encouraging the public to donate funds to the cause.

Alyson Pavlicek and Dylan Nelson started their summer at work trying to do their part to make this world a better place. The work started after watching a documentary on children all over the world being born with severe abnormalities due to what is referred to as cleft palate. Both kids were completely moved and touched by what they saw and knew that they needed to jump in and help educate others.

After many hours of researching they were shocked to find out all the statistics: every three minutes a child is born with a cleft palate. Most are unable to speak, socialize or even smile and are often hidden away by their families in fear of how people will react.

Operation Smile was founded in 1982 and has provided more than 200,000 surgeries and evaluated more than 2 million patients in 60 different countries. The cost for each surgery is $240 and is done in as little as 45 minutes.

Alyson and Dylan got busy writing a letter explaining their passion for this cause and mailed it out to all their family and friends. They also have containers located at the checkout stands at our local grocery store, Palisades Market. Owner Nick Goldsmith was kind enough to meet with the kids and hear their ideas, and support their mission in making a difference in children's lives that are facing unimaginable struggles. Thank you very much for believing in us.

As of this week roughly $1,000 has been raised for Operation Smile and although Alyson and Dylan are excited at the possibility of changing the lives of (four) children who will now be able to afford the $240 surgery, there are many more who need our help. Alyson and Dylan would like to ask and invite the community to step in and help out with this very important cause.

How can you help? It is simple. You could write a check to Operation Smile and mail it to Alyson Pavlicek at 624 Livingood Lane, Lake Oswego, Ore., 97034.

You could go to Palisades Market and put money in the container at the checkout stand, or you could take the challenge that Alyson and Dylan have put out there for any individual or business owner in our community to match the money they have already raised. That is $1,000. If you think you can match the money, please contact Alyson Pavlicek and her family at 503-636-5070.

Please help in any way that you can to change and save the lives of children who deserve to have a chance. We hope that many of you are as passionate as we are about making a difference in this world one person at a time.

Together the possibilities are endless.

Coombs is a Lake Oswego resident and mother of Alyson Pavlicek.

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