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Gloucester teen takes part in Operation Smile mission

Ark resident Emma Rigau has a heart for helping others. After a late summer trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Operation Smile, Rigau, 17, is already anxious to begin changing the lives of more. Her role during the trip was to help educate and entertain the children that were undergoing surgeries for facial deformities such as cleft lips and palates.

Rigau, a senior at York High School, said her passion for Operation Smile evolved from first learning about it at her school. She later decided to attend an international student leadership conference at Christopher Newport University. "Then, I got even more interested," she said.

She went into training for mission work and was all set to go to Egypt earlier this year, but the trip was cancelled because of the turmoil in that country. In June, she was called to go to Rio de Janeiro.

"I got there expecting much poorer conditions," Rigau said. "I expected a terrible hotel, but they really accommodated us an...

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