Returning to the shores of Virginia Beach through Operation Smile, A Dolphin’s Promise is a way for local leadership, educators, students and artists to show support for children in the community and around the world by encouraging public service and art. Donations through A Dolphin’s Promise are a commitment to provide children in low-resource environments with life-changing surgery and ongoing care, as well as an opportunity for student volunteers to take part in Operation Smile’s leadership conferences.

Operation Smile is returning A Dolphin’s Promise to Virginia Beach as a commitment to children in its community and around the world, so that children everywhere may have a brighter future — one that is in good health, one that is full of hope, and one that is full of opportunity.

But first, why dolphins? A dolphin is an almost ethereal creature, known for its happy smile and friendly demeanor. To many, a dolphin means peace, goodwill and protection. To us here at Operation Smile, we see a dolphin as a promise we make to communities where we work: That we’ll take care of more patients in their country, and that we’ll continue to invest in youth leadership.

DONATIONS & DOLPHINS

Question: How do I order one? 

Answer: They’re custom made, so please send an email to adolphinspromise@operationsmile.org. We’ll help you get sorted!

Q: What does my donation to A Dolphin’s Promise do?

A: Proceeds from A Dolphin’s Promise will go directly to support the mission of Operation Smile and help provide surgeries to our patients who are growing up in developing countries with cleft conditions. A portion of each donation will also go toward the Operation Smile Student Programs Opportunity Fund. This fund has been set up to provide financial scholarships for students and educators who would otherwise not be able to afford to participate in Operation Smile missions and programs. With your donation, you are gifted your beautiful dolphin.

Q: I have a design in mind. How do I get started?

A: We can’t wait to see what you have in mind! Please send an email to adolphinspromise@operationsmile.org.

Q: I don’t have a design. Can I choose from some examples?

A: We are building a database of local artists who will be involved with this project. We would be happy to work with you to discover a vision for your dolphin and then partner you with an artist who can help bring that vision to life!

Q: What artists do you work with?

A: We’re currently connecting with Virginia Beach artists, and we’ll share an artist directory soon in the future!

Q: I’m an artist. How can I get involved?

A: We’re so happy you want to join in this initiative! Connect with us at adolphinspromise@operationsmile.org and we’ll add you to our artist directory.

DOLPHIN PRODUCTION

Q: How long does it take to receive a Promise dolphin?

A: The creation of the dolphin statue takes between two and three weeks. If you are having your dolphin decorated by an artist, then the time will vary based on the artist’s schedule and their method of decoration. We will have a better idea once we work with you to select an artist!

Q: Will I get updates of my dolphin’s progress?

A: Yes, we will be happy to provide updates!

Q: Where do I pick it up?

A: You don’t! We’ll deliver!

GENERAL

Q: How many Promise dolphins are there in Virginia Beach?

A: There are more than 100 dolphins currently in Virginia Beach!

Q: Where would a Promise dolphin live?

A: A Promise dolphin can live wherever you would like! It can be installed at a business, at a school, or at a home.

Have another question? Connect with us at adolphinspromise@operationsmile.org.

A Promise dolphin is gifted to businesses, schools and individuals when they make a specific donation to Operation Smile.  

Proceeds from the donation will directly support the mission of Operation Smile and help provide surgeries to our patients who are growing up in developing countries with cleft conditions. A portion of each donation will also go toward the Operation Smile Student Programs Opportunity Fund. This fund has been set up to provide financial scholarships for students and educators who would otherwise not be able to afford to participate in Operation Smile medical missions and leadership conferences.

 OUR STORY

A Dolphin’s Promise was founded in 2006 by Virginia Beach native Cindy Graf, who’s pictured above. She started this effort as a way to honor her mother and raise support for cancer research. Soon, these fiberglass dolphin sculptures started dotting the city, welcoming visitors to Virginia Beach businesses and landmarks. Cindy has generously invited Operation Smile to adopt A Dolphin’s Promise, allowing these works of art to fulfill a new promise.

YOUR IMPACT

Schools, businesses, and individuals can make a specific donation to Operation Smile and receive the gift of a unique fiberglass dolphin sculpture. The donor can determine how the dolphin is painted and customized; in fact, Operation Smile can connect the donor with hometown artists, who can turn the dolphin into a splashing work of art according to the donor’s taste and preferences.

We’re currently building a roster of hometown artists to collaborate with our donors and decorate our Promise dolphins. We’re also looking for creatives who’d like to volunteer and mentor student artists. Artists’ work will be featured on our website, studentprograms.operationsmile.org. If you’re interested in joining our roster, please send an email to adolphinspromise@operationsmile.org. Stipend opportunities are available.