Naperville teens create bracelets to raise money for children's cleft repair surgeries

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Two Naperville teenagers are creating charm bracelets to raise money for their charity, which helps children around the world who need cleft repair surgeries.

Side By Side Smiles co-creators are Nandini Arakoni, a freshman at Metea Valley High School, and Sanjana Gangadharan, a freshman at Neuqua Valley High School.

Arakoni came up with idea for the charity as a way to help others like herself.

"I was born with a clef lip and I was born here so I was really lucky. I got it fixed at young age so I've kind of grown up with a normal life and I've always wanted to do something to give back," Arakoni said.

Their organization has raised $1,300 so far with a goal of donating a total of $5,000 to Smile Train, an international children's charity that provides free cleft repair surgeries.

"I kind of started thinking that not everybody in other countries has the opportunities that I do. I really wanted to do something so I found our charity that we donate to, Smile Train," Arakoni said.

Arakoni then approached Gangadharan to help her get the ball rolling.

"So originally she came to me and said I want to start selling bracelets for this cause and I thought wow that's such a cool idea. That's amazing can I be a part of it and she was pretty charitable and let me join in," Gangadharan said.

Each bracelet they create is made by hand and each charm has a special meaning.

"Each bracelet has a heart that says made with love to symbolize love," Gangadharan said. "There's also a key with shows everyone holds a key to a child's happiness. Then there is a feather arrow which shows how it's easy to make a change since feathers are light. ... And they the chain symbolizes unity because of the links."

For more information about Side By Side Smiles, visit:
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