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

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Side By Side Smiles bracelets raise money for children who need cleft repair surgery. (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:
Related Topics:
societynonprofitteenagersjewelrychicago proudNaperville
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