About the founder

Hi! My name is Brooke Hira. I love to read and do crafts. I love to create anything and everything from painting to molding clay to baking. I am also a competitive soccer player and tennis player, and I was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate.

From the time I was young I have always wondered why other kids didn’t look quite the same as me. Although I had great support from my family and friends, I still felt a little different. When I was younger the differences didn’t stand out as much to me. However, as I approached my pre-teen years my subtle scar became somehow more significant to me. I became more aware of societal placement on looking a certain way. In addition to the medical issues that many cleft lip and palate kids like myself have to deal with, there are also the emotional pressures of fitting in.

In 2017, I began Just a Smile, in an effort to raise awareness and money to aid families and organizations for cleft lip and palate. However, through my experiences I’ve also discovered that the medical support is only one aspect and that the emotional support was just as important. I’ve recognized that a scar on someone’s lip or anything else does not define that person’s worth. I am motivated to speak out about empathy and kindness and acceptance of others. I’ve met some amazing friends and people along the way and I’m looking forward to continuing to spread awareness for this great cause!