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The Smiles We Give

Meet the Children

HUGS Foundation, Inc. is proud to help children in Ecuador, Vietnam, and Guatemala who have cleft lip, cleft palate, microtia, and other congenital facial deformities. In fact, we hope to expand our services to even more countries! When you meet our patients, you’ll understand why it’s so important for us to give these kids a chance for a better life.

Juliana’s Journey to a Smile

In 2017, Angelica, our local contact in Guatemala, received a phone call from a school teacher in a very small town in the Quiche area. The compassionate teacher wanted to help his 12-year-old student, Juliana, who was born with a cleft lip and never received surgery. However, Juliana’s parents were not cooperating. After hearing the story, Angelica decided to help and met with the teacher and Juliana to understand the situation better.


Juliana was so excited and happy to find out that she was finally able to get a surgery to fix her congenital deformity, she brought the teacher and Angelica home to meet her parents and 12 brothers and sisters.

The teacher and Angelica talked with Juliana’s mother. The mother did not show much interest, nor did she agree with the surgery, as her husband was not present at the time to decide with her.

Angelica and the teacher failed to persuade the parents and walked back to the school. A big group of people was waiting for them.

They thought that Angelica was there to kidnap Juliana and they became very aggressive, regardless of the efforts of the teacher to explain why Angelica was there. Angelica decided to leave for her own safety.

Two years passed without having any contact with Juliana and her family. As it turned out, Juliana’s oldest brother heard about a baby receiving surgery and decided to reach out to Angelica for help.

In July, her brother traveled to Antigua to have Juliana evaluated by our partner, Tess Unlimited. After diagnosis, her surgery was finally scheduled! However, there was another challenge. Her parents did not want to join her at the hospital in Antigua, and because she was 14 years of age, a parent needed to be present. The good news is that we were able to get a lawyer involved, which made it possible for her brother to be the responsible adult present. In September, we finally had the privilege of repairing Juliana’s cleft lip!

Juliana says, “HUGS helped make my dreams come true!”

A Letter From José

HUGS Foundation, Inc.

973 East Ave
Rochester, NY 14607

Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN): 58-2673458
HUGS Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All donations of cash and supplies are tax-exempt to the fullest extent of the law.