Smiles Forever

The Smiles Forever mission is to break the cycle of poverty by vocationally training young indigenous women to be dental hygienists in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We recognize women as the first socialization factor in the family. Enabling them to become financially self-sufficient, we are both creating female community leaders and bettering the lives of their children. Students give back to their community by providing free dental care at the school, burn center and rural communities.
Apr 16, 2015

Promise of the Rainbow's Arc: Better Lives

Vibrant colors of the Bolivian market
Vibrant colors of the Bolivian market

Smiles Forever Brings Dental Care to the Boys of Arco de Iris

The boys at the Arco de Iris (Rainbow) shelter and school look forward to visits from the Smiles Forever dental hygienists trainees.  Our students make the rounds of 14 shelters or other agencies where they give free dental screenings and tooth brushing instruction.  The director at Arco de Iris tells us, "Our boys have smiles on their faces when they know the women from Smiles Forever are coming.  They get out the toothbrushes given to them on a prior visit, and they do an extra good job of brushing their teeth to impress the ladies."

It is heart-warming to see the director interacting with "his boys." He is like a father to them, and he cares about their future and he is doing his best to prepare them for the road ahead.  The director appreciates that good overall health makes a good impression, and the benefits of good oral hygiene are far-reaching.  The students who arrive from Smiles Forever are friendly and kind, and give good tips on how to care for teeth.  The boys have been rescued from being abandoned or abused and from living lonely lives without guidance.  They have the chance they need for better lives, because that is the promise of this school which offers protection under the rainbow.

Smiles Forever Outreach to 7,000 Indigenous Children

The boys at Arco de Iris are among the lucky recipients of Smiles Forever 15-year outreach program.  It is because of your generosity we can continue to impact the whole community surrounding our school.  Even when the women graduate, they choose to lend a hand at shelters and schools like this one.  We are so proud that  our graduates have formed their own dental hygienist society and that they have stayed connected to charity work.

Smiles Forever took part on Microsoft Youthspark Giving Tuesday, April 14th

We're so excited to share the news that more than two dozen of you, and some new mystery donors, joined in to help us raise $2,790 in matching funds.  Your gifts amounted to $9,000!  Muchas Gracias!  If you missed being introduced to our microproject "Geovanna's Genuine Goal:  Career & Safety for Baby," or "Send a Young Bolivian Mother to School for a Year," here are the links.  Click and read about these programs.

Geovanna's Genuine Goal: Career & Safety for Baby!         

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Send a Young Bolivian Mother to School for a Year

Give Now powered by GlobalGiving logo

With Gratitude for each of you who has given the promise of a better life under the Arc of the Rainbow!

Arco de Iris boy with director
Arco de Iris boy with director
Apr 7, 2015

Rosie Returns with Rotarian Dental Professionals

Rosie Bellert RDH BS bestowing award at school
Rosie Bellert RDH BS bestowing award at school

Smiles Forever Dental School Welcomes Dental Professionals

It's been an exciting time here in Cochabama as Rosie Bellert, RDH BS, Dr. Tracey Wayman, Dr. Michael le Clair, Deborah McGlynn, RDH BS, and Becki Delaney, RDH, and Kristin Labeck RDH, came to teach for two weeks, sponsored by Rotarians and a generous grant.

This is the 3rd visit for Rosie who leads the Shoreline Community College Dental Hygienist school, and in many ways the most rewarding.  Our students here were excited to be learning so much.   Besides seeing demonstrations about the newest cleaning techniques, and learning about root canal therapy, they also were hearing cutting-edge information about oral cancers--one caused by a HPV virus.

Fame, Fanfare, Food, and Fun

These dental professionals took their show on the road and did teaching demonstrations at the nearby Universidad de Valle dental school.  They received recognition from the University President and were given a book his poetry. Then they were interviewed on TV.  In between, they were discovering the adventurous foods of Bolivia:  quinoa tabouli, barbecued heart, potatoes with peanut sauce, Bolivian style chocolate with the natural salts from the Salar de Unari salt flats, and all washed down with robust Bolivian coffee.  The group had excursions, including to the colorful market.  What wonderful relationships were forged between the professionals and the eager students.  Rosie shares, "Each time is a new experience.  I am so proud of the strong women who are the pioneers of the dental hygiene profession."  We wish you all could have been here!

April Highlights:  A Visit from Global Giving's Natalie, and a Microsoft Youthspark Fundraiser April 14th

We're delighted here at our Smiles Forever school to have the opportunity to entertain Natalie from the Global Giving home office.  She'll be joining us April 13th to meet and greet our new students & to get a first-hand update in all we are accomplishing.  Also, now that we have been active on Global Giving for 5 years, Natalie will use our knowledge to help recruit other organizations and projects.  This effort should raise worldwide awareness for Bolivia and help many more deserving indigenous communities.

Join us on 50% Match Youthspark Day April 14th, beginning at 6:00 A.M. Seattle Time!

Help Geovanna, and our other young mothers.  Donate to our two newest projects:  "Geovanna's Genuine Goal: Career and Safety for her Baby", and our new permanent project "Send a Young Bolivian Mother to School for a Year." Our original project "Send a Homeless Bolivian Woman to School for a Year" is also Youthspark eligible.

Just a few times per year, we are eligible for 50% matching.  Join us for this opportunity to increase your gift!

The donation window closed 9:00 P.M. Seattle time.  Each gifts helps these women & all they will do to give back.

Dish of quinoa, barbecued heart & peanut potatoes
Dish of quinoa, barbecued heart & peanut potatoes
Jan 29, 2015

Dental Hygiene /Nursing Students Ready for Bolivia

Students Will Visit This Community
Students Will Visit This Community

Coming Attractions: 

     In September of 2015, fourteeen nursing and dental hygiene students will be headed to Bolivia for an experience of a lifetime. Nurses and hygienists will together prepare health fairs, open to the indigenous low income folks on the street, that will include dental and medical checks together. Blood pressure, diabetes checks, as well as tooth brushing techniques and free dental exams will be included. The goal of this trip is to not only provide hands on experience for students in a developing country, but also to incorporate medical and dental health. The oral cavity is connected to the rest of the body and can determine and give hints to general body health. After assessing many patients and viewing the Smiles Forever dental hygiene program in Cochabamba and nursing programs in the area, the students (nurses and hygienists) will be asked to create a training program scenario for a nurse/hygienist professional to work in rural areas where there is little or no access to medical and dental care. Rosie Bellert director of the Smiles Forever dental hygiene program and Lisa Libassi director of the Nursing program at Shoreline college will be heading this project together.

“ I am anxious to see how others live and work together in a developing country. I want to work with the other dental hygiene students and help them with their studies,” exclaimed one of the eager students.

                                                     

Call to Action:  Reaching out to our Wonderful Donors

You may be a part of this joint effort by helping fund our lunches.  We estimate there will be another $2,000 in expenses which is not covered under a grant.  Especially important is to feed everyone during the workday. Some of Bolivia's fun foods to taste are pique macho traditional meat and vegetable dish, silpancho (rice, egg, and, meat), and tacos.  Join us at the table vicariously.  Please contribute to our lunch money fund.

 

Further down the pike at sometime this year:

I'm considering using this total project for a Microproject Youthspark eligible bonus program, likely coming this July.  Stay tuned for the opportunity to help us earn bonus money!

    

Nursing Student in Rural La Paz
Nursing Student in Rural La Paz

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