Going to California and attending Angel Faces this summer has to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I met so many strong , beautiful girls there that go through the same things as me. It has taught me how to deal with questions and teasing. I learned to accept myself for who i am. While I was there… , i shared my story and everyone understood the pain. I will never forget this experience. I thank God for giving me the chance to meet such amazing girls and women. ♥
Adriana, age 13

 

I just want to thank you Lesia and Scotty for giving me this opportunity to go to Angel Faces. It was a big change in me and I hope it will be for the other girls that also go and have the same experience. It was really good being able to experience yoga, it made me more flexible and it’s just so relaxing. I’m also very thankful to have met all these wonderful girls and hear about their story. It makes me feel more comfortable when I’m around people kind of like me. I hope when girls go they will understand what Angel Faces is supposed to mean and I hope that it will make them feel better about themselves.
Jenna, age 14

 

Ok so Angel Faces skills came to good use for me this past week and I just needed to tell you thiI was at work on Wednesday. I work with people and I have to be friendly since I am the cashier. Well I was working cash and 2 guys came in to order their food. I was counting their money that they gave me and they said out loud to me ” Eww what is all over you”. I thought for a second what in the world can I say to this. Well I said to them I was burned from a fire when I was little but I am ok. They went on to say well eww no that has to be a disease. Don’t touch my money. so I told them no these are just scars and it is ok can I please ring you up so I can help the other customers. Well they refused to take the money. They said they didn’t want to catch what I had. I went to the back to the back and I got my manger. I explained the situation to her and she went out and rang them up. Well then I started to make their subs and they refused to take them. I calmly told them I am sorry they need to take the food or leave because there are other customers waiting to be waited on. They then tried to fight with my boss. It was so crazy. So they got escorted out by the security. But at the end of the whole situation I was so proud of myself because I kept my patience. I didn’t get angry and yell at them…. I used my sentence that I practiced a lot at Angel Faces and even though they were rude it still made me feel like I did it right and that I handled it all ok and my boss was very impressed with me. just wanted to share that with you. love you much.
Crystal, age 18

 

Hey there, so how are you? I’m good. I just had to email you to tell you something funny.

I went and took my senior pictures on Friday… and I thought was looking GOOOD lol. After my picture was taken we got to see the pictures before they saved them and I was happy with all mine. The lady who was taking my pictures told me she was going to do some retouching and they would be sent to me within 2 weeks. Well I went to walk off and go back to work and she stopped me and she told me she didn’t know if it was mean or not but she said “I’m going to erase all your scars on your face and arms so when you get your pictures you will look even better”. All I could do was laugh … she looked at me like I was dumb but I thought it was sort of funny and I told her, “Please do not erase or retouch the scarring. My scars make me who i am and erasing them out of the picture would make me look so fake. i like the way they are and i dont feel i need them to change for anyone…”

The lady hugged me and told me she really loved all my confidence with myself and that she was surprised that I didn’t want my scars removed from the picture. She said most girls freak over a pimple…lol

My grandma told me she was very proud of me for stepping up like that and for wanting to be myself.

I just wanted to share that with you. I have come so far, Lesia.

love you lots,
Crystal

Crystal, age 18

 

My Inspiring Angel

Inspire means to influence or guide by divine or supernatural power. Lesia Cartelli inspires my life to keep moving forward and follow my dreams. She exhibits spirituality through her love. Lesia founded and supports Angel Faces. She gives back to the community, the lessons that she learned from. Knowing Lesia Cartelli and having her in my life has changed me forever.

Lesia exhibits spirituality. God guides her through everyday life. She prays faithfully and receives strength. Lesia lives her life following God’s commandments. She follows the Golden Rule on a daily basis. Lesia believes God put her here for a reason. She teaches me to look to God for help and reach out to him. Her spirituality inspires me to have a stronger relationship with God.

Lesia Cartelli founded, organizes, and manages Angel Faces Retreat. A gas explosion in her home severely burned her as a child. Lesia had to endure a lot of pain and suffering without a support group. She designed Angel Faces Retreat to help teenage girls from all around the world that have facial deformities for whatever reasons. Young girls learn how to deal with the staring and low self esteem associated with having facial burns or deformities. I admire Lesia so much for helping me accept myself and live with my burns confidently. I can walk into a mall or restaurant and feel good about myself, even though I know people are staring. Angel Faces has truly changed my life and others, thanks to Lesia Cartelli.

Giving back to the community what you have learned portrays a big part of the life Lesia leads. She spends the majority of her time helping those in need. She counsels young teenage girls to accept themselves, and attain their goals in life. Lesia travels to different places speaking about her injuries. Gas companies can get more educated about how faulty equipment can destroy lives. She organizes and participates in all of the fundraising for Angel Faces. The money pays for air flight, transportation, food, and all expenses for the retreat. Lesia devotes her life to Angel Faces to help better the lives of those in need.

Lesia Cartelli has changed my life in ways I will never forget. She inspires people to strengthen their relationship with God. Angel Faces Retreat has helped so many girls to lead happy, normal lives. Community service consumes most of her life. Lesia Cartelli influenced me to take control of my life and face my future as a strong, loving, confident young lady.

When she told us about this assignment (above) everyone said they were going to do their mom. I would have loved to do her and i was going to but, I though of you first becuase my mom couldn’t have done what you did for me. She didn’t know what all to tell me she would try though. But Leisa you have changed my life in the BEST way ever possible. You are truly my hero you make me want to help others who are close to me. Just today i left school early during study hall to go to a volunteer meeting and I have signed up to be a volunteer at Parkland. I will be helping the burns. I can’t wait to start I have to wear a uniform and everything soo i am very excited you make me want to give back even more than i already want to. I think you have shown me i can do so many things with my life i just have to control it. No one else can control it but me if people don’t like it, well their approval isn’t needed it might be rude but its very true!
Haley – Copy of a paper written at the August 2007 Angel Faces Retreat

 

My experience in Angel Faces this time was incredible, I always enjoy going every single year to learn more and reinforce what I learn the years before. We can never get enough of all those tools you teach us each year. Every time when I go there I forget and disconnect from my own world with problems with the way I look. I love to meet new people and make new friendships. Thanks you a lot for that great experience that I have. It was amazing!
Ana, age 14

 

I had labeled myself a burn victim. It was who I was, and it was who I was always going to be; no one would ever see anything but my scars. I saw myself as living my life alone, and dying an old maid because there was no one that would ever love me for me, scars (both physical and emotion) and all.

Well, all of that is perfect rubbish of course. I may have never come out of that self-esteem funk if not for the Angel Faces retreat. Being around amazingly strong girls and women who have gone through very similar circumstances and have come out on top helped me to realize that I was just pitying myself. I realized that I am not a burn victim: I am a young woman who happens to have some scars. I know that I can go out in public in a bikini and not even notice an entire room of people staring at me because I’m different. I am now in a place where I know that when a guy is staring at me, it’s because I am beautiful, inside and out, and not because he thinks I’m a freak.

Thanks to Angel Faces, I am through with shrinking into a corner when a set of eyes rests upon my face. Instead, I smile, and know that I am someone special because I have survived something that very few people could have with as much grace and dignity.
Calais, age 17

 

A lot has changed for me since Angel Faces. It has taken me 16 years to find out the true me. I am so happy with myself and finally love me. I used to cry and say how much I want to change how I look, and get rid of my scars and the person that I am but I am happy in the skin I’m in and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I finally realized that life is too short to be unhappy and to stress over how I look…so now I just wear what I want to wear look the way I look and If I am happy with it that is all that matters. Since Angel Faces I have also finally realized that I need to let my guard down and trust people.

Also, if I don’t feel comfortable I have boundaries and I can speak up and say what I want to say. I have finally found my voice in life. I love life and I am so happy I finally can be the person I want to be. Since I returned home from Angel Faces and started school; for the first time ever people said they have seen a change in me and I got new friends. Friends who love and enjoy life as much as I do an who like me for me an want to help me through anything. In school I feel so different and since the retreat I had the guts to finally take a speech and debate class. Now I find getting up an talking to big groups of people so much fun I just had to get over my own self consciousness. My life has been flipped for the good. THANK YOU ANGEL FACES
Crystal, age 16

 

What I most liked was the meetings. Lesia and Diane shared with us their stories, and it made me realize that my lip compared with all they’ve been through is nothing. Also hearing the experiences of the other girls gave me strength. On one meeting they helped us to create responses when someone asked us what we had, etc. and that was very helpful because I froze every time someone asked me something or stared at me. And well, everyone was very nice and kind with me. It was a great experience. I am sooo grateful and what I learned at Angel Faces will be with me forever; and now every time I feel sad because of a stare or a question, etc. I will remember Angel Faces and I know that will put a smile on my face.
Michelle, age 14

 

What I learned was to be outgoing the first time that I meet someone. I feel more self confident and more happy to be alive. The first year I went and came home I saw a big difference in myself. This year was so assume, I made so many friends. All of the staff was so wonderful and so helpful. I was so happy to see you all again.
Stacy, age 18

 

“Crack of Dawn” by Calais Weber
As dark turns to light,
and night turns to day,
it is always darkest
before the morning rays.

And from the fog,
arises an angel.
A once-broken, now whole
savior from that moor.

Upon its arrival,
the angel cracks the sky.
And for those in the dark,
they may now fly high.

High above the dark
and above the sorrow,
now the former lost
may gaze into tomorrow.

letterLarisa
Many girls with burn injuries suffer through many physical and emotional challenges. It doesn’t stop there. They also endure social challenges. Read what some of the girls wrote about their own social experiences.

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Most of the girls who come to Angel Faces are hopeful for a better quality of life in every aspect. The retreat gives them a chance to have a brand new start in how to approach life. Read what some of the girls wrote when asked “What do you want to leave behind?”

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Angel Faces changed Mariah’s life!! She came home from the retreat with so much more confidence that when she left home. We hardly recognized her when we picked her up. She had her hair cut there. She had such a beautiful glow on her face when we saw her. She loved connecting to girls that had facial deformities/burns/scars. She could relate to those girls and they loved her for who she is. She didn’t have to put on a “mask” or hide behind her hair anymore. We feel so blessed that Mariah was chosen to be part of such an incredible experience. We are all better people for her experience. Thank you Angel Faces!! You blessed our little Angel during the retreat. Words can’t express how grateful we are to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!! We love you!!
Michelle, Mariah’s mother

I learned a lot this year. I learned that it is very hard to take people out of your life, but if they aren’t healthy to have in your life you must do it. And I accomplished one person, that I am very glad I did; thanks to the help of Angel Faces.

Also don’t be afraid to be yourself and wear whatever you want, even if it shows your scars. You shouldn’t be afraid of what people think, just embrace it. It makes you unique and special than everyone else. You have a story, and you should be proud of who you are.

Thank you so much!

I absolutely love Angel Faces and everyone there (:
Haley

Hi Lesia: I wanted to tell you that I did something I would never have done before I went to Angel faces this year. Something I would never have done in school. This year I had the choice like I have had for the last 3 years to take public speaking an debate class. I have always been so shy so I never did. After coming home from Angel Faces I finally had the guts to do it an I did it.

Our final for the class is that we have to research certain issues that are important to us — and speak in front of the whole school assembly about our issue. For the last 3 yrs I thought those people must be all kinds of crazy. I am in the class now an I love it. I don’t think I would get out of the class unless I was forced and I know that without going to Angel Faces I would still have said, Ha… those people are crazy for taking that class and I would’ve kept walking but at the retreat I was inspired to do better than that I am doing. Thank you, Lesia
Luv, Crystal

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