Operation Gift a Smile is a non-profit organization based out of Orange County dedicated to putting smiles on the faces of at-risk youth in America.
Did you know that children in foster care often carry their few personal belongings in trash bags when they move from one place to the next? We aim to change that by giving away a versatile backpack instead through our Smile Packs program. Assembled by our gracious volunteers, Smile Packs constitute of a colorful backpack, custom fleece blanket and a small gift like sunglasses or a stuffed animal. The hand-made fleece blankets with a unique print will stay with these children no matter where they move to and can provide the security and warmth needed in a new and unfamiliar place.
For some, turning 16 comes with great excitement after anxiously waiting to obtain a drivers license and getting behind the wheel. But for foster youth, this milestone doesn’t come too often and reliable transportation is hard to come by. Operation Gift a Smile recognizes this need and to help fill the gap, the organization donates a bicycle, lock and helmet to emancipating teens from 16 to 18 years of age on their birthdays. This gift will provide a sustainable mode of transportation so they can get to school, work, or simply to be a kid and cruise. In addition, we gift the new bike with a personalized birthday card offering warm wishes from our awesome volunteers at Operation Gift a Smile.
Operation Gift a Smile will continue to build new programs and activities with the mission to bring smiles to the faces of children and youth in need and to demonstrate that we care.
Story behind Operation Gift A Smile
Tony’s (President & Founder) little sister Candy was in a horrific car accident a little over three years ago that nearly took her life. She was in a comma for a while and spent many months in the hospital. With family, friends, and a medical team by her side every day she made a full recovery. When she left that hospital dancing, Tony knew he had to give back. He was inspired and driven to pay it forward. So here we are today, together putting smiles on the faces of at-risk youth.
Once a month in partnership with Pizza Hut, Operation Gift a Smile will visit motels in Anaheim to give out a warm meal and board game to the residents for the evening. This program is designed to encourage quality family time which is crucial to the development of a child.
President and Founder
From a young age, Tony has had an entrepreneurial spirit. In high school, Tony initiated the ‘Anti Prom’ for over 300 high school students as a first class alternative to the standard high school prom. This parlayed into Tony’s first company, Platinum Proms. Tony is now co-owner of Casa de Lago Events alongside his brother and reputable Orange County based business partners. These business partners continue to serve as life mentors to Tony, helping him to realize his dreams while applauding his success. Casa de Lago Events provides premier, full service event coordination and have five venues throughout Orange County. Recently, Tony’s sister was in a horrific car crash which nearly ended her life. During her recovery, Tony committed himself to give back to those in crisis, thus forming Operation Gift a Smile. Tony is passionate about his family, his friends and his unwavering love for his sister.
Loreani is an Orange County native and Long Beach State graduate with four years of experience in Public Relations and Communications for a Fortune 500 company. She loves to travel and experience new foods and culture as well as hanging out with her family. As a first born American, Loreani is passionate about helping financially vulnerable populations and the Latino community. She's also ran a marathon and raised $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society after the loss of a close family friend.
Board of Director
With a passion for storytelling and documentary filmmaking, it’s a dream of mine to tell find the stories that aren’t being told and inspire those who watch my films to do their part in changing our world. My mission with OGS is to support them through documenting their projects and events year round, bringing more awareness to their efforts and inspiring as many people as I can through the work the amazing work of OGS.
Tim is the legal and politics guy with four years of experience in campaign management and fundraising. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Chapman University and is currently a Juris Doctorate candidate at Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law. Tim is an avid sports fan and found his love for traveling after circumnavigating the globe by ship at the age of 20.
Board of Director
Isabella is a recent Long Beach State Graduate with her Bachelors of Science in Health Care Administration and minor in Child Development and Family Studies. She aspires to continue her education and obtain her Masters in Public Health. Isabella is very passionate about her family, traveling, and giving back to the community every chance she gets.
Bill is a motivated Distribution Sales Engineer at DMG Corp in Orange. He studied Business at Fullerton College and volunteered his time coaching the women’s basketball team along with a boy's youth travel team. Bill prides himself with being surrounded by a strong network of friends and business relationships. He married his wife, Brittany, recently and they bought a house together in Orange County. Family is everything to Bill and he looks forward to giving back.
Meet the Team
Board of Director
Alma is a recent graduate from Western Governors University, obtaining her Master’s degree in Business Administration. She attributes her achievements to the unconditional support of family and friends. As a result, her gratitude inspires her to work with Operation Gift a Smile. Appreciating the little things, Alma has a light hearted and humorous personality naturally she can’t wait to gift smiles all around.
Board of Director
Victoria Jakstis is a Long Beach State graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in Community Health Science. The entire experience she went through during her sister's car accident is what geared her even more towards the medical field. Victoria enjoys spending time with her family, who mean everything to her. She is very passionate about helping others and enjoys giving back to her community.
Volunteer at a “Fix a Fleece”
Operation Gift a Smile hosts Fix a Fleece events to assemble the blankets and pack the bags. It’s fun, rewarding and best of all… gifts a smile to a child in need. To learn more about the next event, visit our Facebook page or email for more information.
Host your own “Fix a Fleece”
For your next team building, special event or gathering, why not throw in a fun and unique activity that also makes a difference in the lives of children in need.
Gather a group of family or friends and host a Fix a Fleece event to support our mission and help us assemble the fleece blankets we provide to at-risk youth through the Smile Pack program. The process is easy.
Collect $25 from each of your event guests to go toward the purchase of the materials needed for a Smile Pack.
Submit your order and payment online (hyperlink online).
Fix your fleece once you receive the Smile Pack materials by mail or personal delivery.
Return the completed and assembled Smile Pack to go to a child in need.
Give a Smile Pack to a child in need by donating only $30. If you’re feeling extra generous, go for the gold and donate $150 to help purchase a bike or skateboard for emancipating youth. Click here to donate now.
Board of Director
Vanessa is a Cal State Fullerton graduate with a Master's of Science in Kinesiology. She has experience within the non-profit field and working with youth and enjoys being able to give back to the at-risk and underserved communities. Vanessa is passionate about her family and friends and embracing life to the fullest. Her favorite quote to live by is, "Be the change you wish to see in the world" by Mahatma Gandhi.