Operation Smile Launches New Interactive Learning Center

by Arielle Patterson

From a press release issued by Operation Smile

Photos courtesy of Operation Smile

On Wednesday, May 19, global nonprofit Operation Smile hosted the soft opening of the Anthony L. and Hideko S. Burgess Interactive Learning Center (ILC) at its global headquarters in Virginia Beach.

A gift of $1 million from late donor and local humanitarian, Anthony “Tony” L. Burgess made it possible for Operation Smile to create this immersive experience. Visitors will be able to journey alongside patients affected by cleft conditions as they seek the safe surgery and comprehensive care they need.

Attending with his family, Tony Burgess’ son, Daniel Burgess, was among the first to experience the center that his late father helped to create.

Operation Smile-learning center 2

“It’s hard for me to find the words to adequately describe what has been done here,” said Daniel Burgess. “It’s overpowering. The entire presentation is very powerful and I know my parents would be very proud.”

The soft launch of the ILC allowed visitors a preview of what’s to come for the public of Virginia Beach. The ILC seeks to educate students, the community and visitors to Virginia Beach about culture, medicine, geography, and leadership – topics that late donor, Tony Burgess had always been passionate about.

The ILC provides opportunities for career exploration and supports lessons in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) as well as Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs). In addition to providing educational opportunities, Operation Smile hopes that visitors to the ILC will leave with a greater sense of empathy and capacity for kindness.

Operation Smile-learning center

Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of visitors, staff and volunteers, the ILC is set to safely open to the public later in 2021 in accordance with COVID-19 regulations as mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia and City of Virginia Beach. More information about the ILC can be found at OperationSmile.org/interactive-learning-center.

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