Carlsbad Chamber

Smiles by Angels Foundation

Smiles by Angels Foundation

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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OUR STORY

Smiles By Angels Foundation is a non-profit organization founded on June 11, 2019, with a mission to bring joy and hope to underserved children in hospitals, foster care, and other communities through the gift of books. Our organization primarily operates in Southern California, serving Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino counties.

 

The inception of Smiles By Angels Foundation can be traced back to a deeply personal and emotional event in the lives of our founders, Luis Peralta, and Corine Peralta. On May 23rd, 2018, they experienced the profound loss of their beloved son, AJ, who was born as an angel (stillborn). On this day, their unwavering commitment to positively impact the lives of children was born. Turning their grief into a source of inspiration, Luis and Corine honored their son’s memory by spreading smiles and joy to other children facing challenging circumstances.

 

The couple embarked on their mission with determination, setting a goal to begin their work of changing children’s lives by AJ’s original due date. Their initial efforts involved remodeling an orphanage in Mexico and distributing 60 backpacks filled with school supplies to three different orphanages. Soon after, they collaborated with Parents of Watts for a back-to-school backpack event in Watts, CA, where they distributed 600 sweatshirts annually from 2019-2022.

 

The journey of Smiles By Angels Foundation continued to evolve, and in 2019, it officially became a non-profit organization, laying the foundation for its ambitious literacy-focused mission. Their younger daughter, Gracie, played a significant role in shaping this mission. In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was diagnosed with a rare lymphatic disease, resulting in several hospital stays over the next two years.

 

During one of those restless nights in the hospital, when Gracie was nine months old, she could only have one parent by her side and was confined to her crib while Corine held her in her arms. Since Corine had hardly any time to create a quick diaper bag, they were fortunate to have one ball and one rattle. On the third day of that hospital stay, Corine was out of tricks to distract her baby from the pain and confinement, and that’s when a wonderful nurse offered her a book! It was for an 8-year-old, but that didn’t matter. Gracie loved the colors! She could hit it and roll on it; they read it over and over…she loved it! All siblings still refer to it as the special Gracie hospital book, which is still on our bookcase at home. This powerful experience opened Luis and Corine’s eyes to the importance of literacy resources for children in hospitals, particularly in underprivileged communities lacking the support of well-funded children’s hospitals.
 

From that moment on, Smiles By Angels Foundation was focused on providing books to children in county-run hospitals, foster care, and other underserved communities. In celebration of their daughter Gracie’s first birthday, they donated 1040 books to Harbor-UCLA County Hospital, igniting the realization that county hospitals serving at-risk, lower-income, and underserved communities were often overlooked when it came to essential resources like books.
 

The profound experiences of loss, hope, and healing have shaped the core mission of Smiles By Angels Foundation. We are determined to bring light and smiles to those in need, fostering hope and happiness through the joy of reading.
 

Despite being a 4-year-old organization, our journey has been fueled by passion, determination, and unwavering dedication. Our initiatives, such as remodeling orphanages, distributing school supplies, and promoting literacy by providing books to children facing adversity, encouraging reading, and creating opportunities for emotional escape and growth, are a testament to our capability to carry out projects that positively impact the lives of children.

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By giving a child a book, you are not only giving them a smile but helping improve their literacy. In addition, current studies show that “reading to hospitalized children increases their oxytocin and reduces their pain and stress. During storytelling, something happens called “narrative transportation.” The child, through fantasy, can experience sensations and thoughts that transport them to another world, a place different from the hospital room and far from the adverse conditions.” Research from D’Or Institute for Research and Education.
Member Since: 2023
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 (Date: 5/27/2024)
 
 

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