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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


My good friend Lauren (the most inspirational, genuine and accomplished young woman in Utah) told me about this organization called FugeesFamily today. They are a group who are devoted to helping children of war. They are a nonprofit organization who works to help children heal and meet others like themselves. They "cater to the victims of the worst disasters who decide to be survivors" - Lauren Biada

I don't know a lot about this organization yest, but I do know that it is a worthy and good cause that is helping heal injustices in the world around us. Lauren told me about a book called "Outcasts United" by Warren St. John who is a reporter for the NY Times. His book is about these refugee projects and the first chapter begins with Amman, Jordan.

Obviously this cause tugged at my heartstrings. I had the opportunity to spend time in a refugee camp while in Jordan and I will tell you, it is a horrific and sad sight. These are just a few of the pictures I took while there. These refugees have been there for hundreds of years. Those who choose a way out and on to a better life deserve this. Please, join me in a plea to stop and heal those injustices in the world. Take a chance to Be the Change.

1) Click HERE to access the Kohls Campaign 
Then vote for the Fugee Academy to get half a million dollars to build the first school in America for refugees. 

2) Spread the word! 
I know you can, I've seen it done with Operation Smile when we won $250,000 earlier this summer in the Members Project. The beauty of this blog is that I know everyone who reads it is in some way helping create a better tomorrow because of their love, commitment and desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves. You are someone who wants to help the world in any way you can. Please, this is your chance again.

3) Smile! 
You helped take the first step to change those things in the world that need changing.

***Want to see more photos of the refugee camp I visited in Jordan? Visit this link***

Monday, August 30, 2010

Smiling South of the Border

This week is a very special week as far as student missions go.

The first mission is in Tlaxcala, Mexico where Arielle Sasson and Alexandria Spiegel are spreading love and joy and smiles from August 26th to September 1st. I am so excited for Arielle especially because she has been waiting a veryyy long time for her mission with a little bit of heartbreak in between. 

(l-r) Arielle, and another amazing student- Julia

Here's the story: (as far as I know and have heard)
When I left MTW in Virginia, I had a different mission partner- Sasha. Because of some things that happened, Sash had to be reassigned to another mission. Hence, Lisa & Taylor, Sasha & Arielle. (She had been assigned a 'Mystery Mission' at MTW) WELL, those two girls got a mission to China the first week of August and on the way to the airport, Arielle had an allergic reaction  to the shots that she was required to get and was unable to go! Ahh! Yeah, I know. I would  have cried. So Arielle is FINALLY on her mission to Tlaxcala and I am SO happy for her and Alexandria!

Visit their blog,
to follow their mission!

Sam, Fran and Lisa Downy with their sponsor Suzanne Unger, ready to go! :)

The next mission is in Fortaleza, Brazil where my two good friends Samantha DeVito and Frannie Coxe are! Both are exemplary, funny, sweet and talented girls. I absolutely love them both! While I had the very FIRST mission, Sam and Fran have the very LAST mission from WMTW '10 so they are finishing off the group! We are all so excited for them. They  have been preparing for 7 1/2 months for this to finally happen!! And after some minor flight dilemmas, they are in Brazil now! Congrats girls, we love you!!

Sam and her twin sister, Deanna 

Sam DeVito could quite possibly be the most prepared and pumped student volunteer that Operation Smile has ever seen. She has had her donations, presentations and bags packed since MARCH. .... WHO DOES THAT?!?!? For real. She is just phenomenal and inspires, motivates and drives me to be better, daily. 

Follow Sam's blog on OSCentral
Frannie's blog: 

Good luck girls!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Weekly Planners! 

Student Programs is having a Planner Campaign for the month of  September.

These planners are specific to Operation Smile because inside it includes over 30 pages of fundraising and service ideas, tips on how to effectively plan your year and strengthen your club, Annual checklists and important info/dates from Student Programs!

The planners are a great resource for anyone, as planning is a crucial aspect of success

"He who fails to plan, plans to fail"

Planners are available to purchase for $10 each
$8 for 10 or more
$6 for 20 or more

Look how happy I look when I'm planning with OpSmile!! :D

I have a limited supply with me that I would LOVE to send your way!! Please leave me a comment if you are interested in purchasing student planners for your friends, family, club members, a quick and easy fundraiser, or even just for yourself! 

From another state or another country? 
I got-chu covered! There are ELC members all across the country who are also part of this campaign, I will get you in touch with them.

Students in the 300+ clubs all over the country and more all over the world raise over 
annually for Operation Smile! Let's plan to have another great year to spread the smiles!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Smiley Summer 2010

 SENIOR SUMMER! Wow, can't even believe I made it this far! This is what I've been up to the last 3 months...

My Summer 2010 Bucket List... :)

  • Drive-in in Casey's monster truck
    • Movie Under the Stars counts
  • Bonfire with friends up Mueller Park Canyon.. complete with s'mores, corn, hotdogs, stars and great memories
    • Due to scheduling the bonfire was not held in MPC, but we still had it!
  • IKEA. Seriously- been on the life bucket list for like 2 years. It's happening!
    • Ahhh!!! :( Due to stupid wisdom teeth removal and super disorganized little brother, failed to visit Ikea!! :(

  • Midnight Happy Hour sushi at Shogun
  • Hang out with or call every person who said "call me, cute gurrrl!" in my yearbook. Not to be bitter, but I was slightly disappointed in the comment quality in my yearbook this year...

  • Do a random act of kindness every Tuesday.. I was thinking like food related (you know if it involves food, I'm game) and call it "Tasty Tuesday". Just make something delicious every Tuesday I'm home and anonymously drop it off at someone's house. I did this with cheesecake and salsa this month to a few neighbors and ward members (as anonymously as I could.. I'm not great with being sneaky I guess) and it was great. 

  • ***Tasty Tuesday has been edited. Instead of EVERY Tuesday, I will alternate or do what best fits the schedule so Tuesdays will either be TEMPLE TUESDAY or TASTY TUESDAY. Anyone invited to join:) A goal of mine for 2010 was to go to the Temple at least once a month and I've gone 7 times so far woo love that place.

  • Go to Church, Mutual, and Summer Seminary every week

  • Bare my testimony in Fast and Testimony Meeting

  • CREPES! For a lovely summer morning:)

  • My "Lisa's Summa 2010 Postcard Adventure Tour" :) If you know, you'll know.

    • People that are DEFINITELY in my plans this summer no exceptions:
      • Jefferson 
      • Steph 
      • Andrea 
      • Kim 
      • Casey 
      • McCall 
      • Melissa
      • Alexander 
      • Sami and Connor
      • Camren
      • Leslie
        • I'll see you soon, Les! :)
      • Dan
      • Katie 
      • Aticus my Harvard boy
      • Op Smile Fam.. too many to list! Claire, Jenn, Jenna, Logan, Jessica, and the MTW  fam!
    Wow!!! I can't believe that summer has gone by so quickly!! It has been a hard one, but definitely wonderful. June and August were super busy, and July was a very chill month at home doing fun things! I only didn't do ONE thing on my Summer '10 Bucket List!! woo wooo!  Looking back, it doesn't seem like a lot, but I did so much this summer! Let's see..

    The rest of my summer...
    • Saw off the graduating class of 2010
    • Went to a Court of Honor, several farewells, and a homecoming
    • Went on many long walks and had lots of meaningful conversations
    • Donated 12 inches of hair
    • Went on a 20~ mile Pioneer Trek
    • Went to 3 Leadership Camps
      • Governor's Honors Academy (GHA)
      • International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC)
      • UT OpSmile Retreat
    • Drove all the way to Cedar City
    • Was honored to be chosen to give a speech at GHA
    • Went to 2 National Parks
    • Gave 3 Operation Smile Presentations
    • Got the TOP SCORE (6/7) out of my entire class in the IB Psychology Exam:)
    • Went on a Facebook Fast for an entire month!
    • Sent my boy off to play college football and school
    • Scored my first Soccer goal!
    • Updated the number of missionaries I write to 9
    • Read several books (The Memory Keeper's Daughter, The Lost Symbol, Mercy)
    • Saw a crazyy movie- Inception

    • Made lots and lots and LOTS of new friends!
    • Went to 2 firework shows
    • Went to a GHA reunion
    • Got ridiculously dizzy on a teacup ride:)
    • Went on a few fun dates
    • Went to Disneyland with the whole fam!
      • Took my mom on Tower of Terror;)
    • Saw some Jazz players at the Fan Fest with their new jerseys!
    • Danced in the rain, several times!
    • Went Boating with the ward
    • Manyyy a sunset:)
    • Helped my Dan Man shop for college
    • Hung out with my family a LOT

    • Got several packages from lovely places:)
    • Took my lil bro driving
    • Gave a talk
    • Pulled all nighters
    • Went to LJ's Graduation
    • Got Senior Pic taken:(
    • Was honored with the David Schick Award at ISLC.. wowww
    • Got an Honorable Mention in the Jiffy Lube Scholarship
    • Got my wisdom teeth out:(
    • Had my 3000th visitor to my OpSmile Blog:)
      • Currently in 24 Countries and 22 states:)
    • Skyped with Alexander
    • Chatted with the Magees:)
    • Got my first college acceptance letter and full scholarship to SUU
    • Saw 5 shooting stars
    • Went to a World Cup Party!
    • Almost got killed by a hobo
    • Listened to Jessica Simpson speak about confidence, Doritos, Boy/girl, and give a BIG hug
    • Was incredibly inspired beyond belief by Maggie Doyne at ISLC
    • Went to the my last first Bountiful Football game

    So that pretty much sums up my summer! I'd have to say that not one part of my summer could be described as the "best" part, or the most exciting, or anything like that. It is all a culmination of spending time with those I love, making memories, and enjoying the blessing that is life. Little moments like having my nephew Joe Joe smile up at me for the first time, or   spending time reading my scriptures on Trek, or having so many ecstatic "Hello's!" and "See you soon's!" at the airport, or sharing an incredibly sacred and tender moment with one of my biggest role models on a dingy dorm couch-- all joined by a single thing, a smile.

    My last summer before I start the rest of my life as a real (responsible?? ;) adult. It just blows my mind that this time next year I will know what school I will be attending, where I will be living, and a more specific course of plan of what I will be doing. I had such an incredible time these last 3 months. Growing, reading, learning, writing, basking in the intense summer sun, smiling, sharing memories and creating moments to remember for a lifetime. It hasn't always been easy.  In fact it was a very difficult summer for me, but I find the knowledge that everything is going to work out to be a very comforting thing.

    Starting my Senior Year this Monday! Wow! I can't believe it has gone by so quickly! I look forward to a year of having a lot of fun, cheering at a lot of games, taking rigorous courses, serving on the ELC, fulfilling my church callings, and of course, having the time of my life! :)

    Good luck to all who are starting school soon or whatever comes with the end of your summer. Thank you for sharing your summer months with me and letting me be a part of your lives.  I still have to share with you my experience at ISLC and the Utah Op Smile retreat! I also have some great news to share with you about ELC 2011!


    Lisa :)