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.
Jan 20, 2015

Child with "Sweet Tooth" gets "Tooth Holes" Fixed!

Theodora outside cliniic
Theodora outside cliniic

Story with a Happy Ending:  Sweet 7-year-old Girl gets her "Tooth Holes" Fixed:

      Lydia is a sweet little girl with a "sweet tooth."  Lydia especially loves chocolate and would find a way to get candy at school. 

Background:  Theadora (age 59) and her daughter Lydia (age 7) live in a rural village called Montesillo outside Cochabamba, Bolivia.  They receive social services and after school daycare through a project called Warmi.

Here is their story with a happy ending, told by Theadora, Lydia's mother:

"This is the first time I have taken my daughter to a dentist because I am a single mother and only make my living by selling Chicha (homemade liquor) to local bars.  My daughter would cry about her teeth hurting, but I could only buy some medication at the store for her.

I am very excited for my daughter to see the dentist to fill all the holes in her teeth.  Before my daughter would buy chocolate and candy at school.  The bugs (bacteria?) in her mouth were living off of the candy.  Now she cannot buy candy and I make her brush her teeth.

I want to get my teeth worked on, too!

Update from Smiles Forever's Bolivian Dental Hygienist School's Outreach Program:

          Currently, our Smiles Forever supported Bolivian Dental Hygienist school continues to strengthen and build upon our community clinic and rural outreach work.  There are now 14 organizations, like the Warmi project which helped Lydia, that  we visit both in Cochabamba and in surrounding rural areas.  All these dental services can be provided free, thanks to the support from our GobalGiving friends like you.

Since our beginnings in 2000, we have been looking for ways to help the under-served in an ever-widening area around our dental hygienist school for young indigenous woman.  Many of our students, past and present, have come from the very shelters which we now go back and serve.  To date Smiles Forever estimates we have given 20,000 free treatments to the local area.  Our goal is to reach out to 7,000 more, particularly the vulnerable children, some who are crying from tooth decay pain like one of our newest patients, Lydia.  She's promising us and her mother to avoid candy and to brush her teeth, because Lydia doesn't want to live with constant pain again.

Sparkling Smiles at the Burn Center Christmas Party:

       We all went to  the holiday party at the burn center.  We have been treating severely burned children who live at this special center for many years. Everyone loves to come here and make a difference giving dental treatments to the children who have suffered so much already.  When these children can sport a sparkling smile after a dental treatment, it helps their image of themselves.  Not only does receiving dental treatments build self esteem, it also improves the overall health of the children to not be exposed to the threat of systemic bacterial infection.  Having tooth decay is a risky situation if a child's immune system is already working overtime, recovering from burns and the trauma of abandonment.  Bolivian children who are not perceived as perfect can be discarded as a burden on a household.  This burn center is a haven where the children find a new family.  We are happy to be a part of their extended family and love celebrating special occasions with them.

New Year Best Wishes from us to you!

    Muchas gracias for choosing us to help send a gift that keeps on giving.  Here in one of the poorest areas of Bolivia, we nevertheless see hope for 2015 when you include us in your gift card, and other special season's greetings to your family and friends. 

I'd also like to thank all of our Anonymous donors.  You are Superstars & you helped our organization receive Superstar ranking in 2014.  You are so much appreciated, and sometimes I feel I don't get to express our gratitude enough to all the humble Mr. & Mrs. & Ms. Anonymous friends we have.

Our original  project is "Send a Homeless Bolivian  Woman to School for a Year," (7925) key word Bolivia and then look for the Smiles Forever logo, or try www.globalgiving.org/7925 to see more pictures and stories. 

The Whirlwind World of Fast-Paced Youthspark Microprojects:  Vania & Marcela down to the last 17 days!

 From time to time we also feature micro-projects through Youthspark.  Our students Vania & Marcela have received wonderful exposure and backing.  Their projects will end in 17 days, and they both still need a few thousand dollars for their school year. We shout out a fond thank you to Microsoft and their employees, and the corporate gift card programs from over 60 companies.  We cannot do what we do without you!

Theodora with daughter Lydia receiving treatments
Theodora with daughter Lydia receiving treatments
Founder Sandy Kemper spending time with a student
Founder Sandy Kemper spending time with a student
Nov 10, 2014

Celebrate 14 Years with Smiles Forever in 2014!

Paola a young mother & new dental hygiene student
Paola a young mother & new dental hygiene student

2014 a Banner Year! Our 14th Serving the Cocabamba Community & Operating a Dental Hygienist School!

Our grassroots, home-grown Seattle charity Smiles Forever, which has run a dental hygienist school for 14 years in Cochabamba, Bolivia, now has gone global.

We're Proud of Our Global Giving Superstar Ranking!

For four years Smiles Forever has been building to Superstar Level on www.globalgiving.org. This year has been an exciting one since we participated in a www.globalgivinguk.org (based in London, England with outreach to Europe, Australia & New Zealand) 50% matching contest and won the grand prize, 800 pounds, plus more in matching funds.  A special thanks goes to Sandy's parents, Sam & Eddie Robison for helping!  Another special thanks goes to Nancy Clark, who has been attending both in-person and online seminars offered by the Washington, D.C. staff.  The D.C. and the London office, too, have been doing a fine job of sharing helpful hints and of making sure we understand contest rules. 

Invitation-- Reaching out to New Recurring Givers from December 1st - December 31st

Now Smiles Forever has four active projects with GlobalGiving.  One of these, "Fund Dental Care for 7,000 Indigenous Children," #17807  is signed up for the month-long December campaign to recruit recurring givers.  This project zeros in on the dental needs of the surrounding community by bringing dental health to shelter children, children with cancers, and children who have been burned.  Also, we are serving others at schools in the indigenous communities.  Click on  http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/fund-dental-care-for-7000-indigenous-children/         to sign-up as new recurring givers ANYTIME DURING DECEMBER!

Take Part in Microsoft's 100% Matching Challenge on Giving Tuesday December 2nd

Mark Giving Tuesday, December 2nd, on your personal giving calendars, and the key times to push the DONATE NOW BUTTON are 6:00 a.m. Seattle time and 12:00 p.m. noon Seattle time.  These times mark when the contest begins & when Microsoft replenishes the 100% matching pot. (Please use debit/credit/or PayPal.  Gift cards, checks, & text donations don't work with this instant "game" in quest of matching dollars).  We are privileged to have our projects designated as YouthSpark.  This means our projects educate young people between the ages of 6-24 in a direct way which will impact not only their lives, but in turn have the long-range effect of benefiting their communities.  All donations to either our original project, "Send a Homeless Bolivian Woman to School for a Year" #7925  http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/educating-homeless-bolivian-women/ are of immense help.  Click to donate to our micro-projects, "Fund Vania's Journey from a Shelter to Success" #18747  http://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/fund-vanias-journey-from-a-shelter-to-success/  or "Marcela Needs Safety While Studying Dental Hygiene"  #18744     http://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/marcela-needs-safety-while-studying-dental-hygiene/     unique donations count up until midnight Pacific time towards several prizes.  If you wish, you may set your screen to simultaneously donate from $10-$500 for all three.

See & Share Smiles Forever's Stories & Reports & Pictures

Meet our staff and students and their clients by browsing through four years of stories found on these project web sites.  There are links provided by GlobalGiving between them, and there are options to read any of the reports about all we have done, including what we have accomplished with help from outside volunteers. You are welcome to share these stories and links in your own holiday friends & family letters & social media contacts.  Also, if you know of dental professionals who wish to inquire about a minimum two-week stay helping in Bolivia, please ask them to contact sandykemper@smilesforever.org.

Honorees at Gala Bolivian Dinner for 800

While we missed seeing you all at our customary Seattle Smiles Forever benefit dinner, we instead wish to share the night we were honored for our Bolivian work. Smiles Forever was the featured charity at a major Bolivian dinner for 800, prepared by 80 volunteer chefs and hosted by VIP Magazine.  Sandy's husband Freddy, and their adopted daughter Gisele (who had severe ear infections when she was brought home from an orphanage) are in one article.  Sandy is a "cover girl" and her story is told in a great write-up about the dental hygienist school and her unswerving commitment to the under-served indigenous community.

Meet Paola - One of Our Newest Students

Paola is a young mother with children Kyara, Lucas, and Camila.  When her first child was born, Paola worked during the day to provide for her daughter and finished high school at a night school named Amor de Dios. Paola shares, "When I graduated from high school my economic situation was really bad, and I couldn't study nothing.  I was in that situation for many years. Smiles Forever provides me the opportunity to learn about dental hygiene without having to choose between my family and the studies.  Smiles Forever opened the doors and they are giving me an opportunity in the future for me and my whole family." Paola explains how she wants to complete her studies and to help her daughters so they don't go on the path she did.  Paola continues, "Since the first day, I've found in Smiles Forever friends, and great people who help not only in my studies ,but also in other apsects of my life.  I won't let Smiles Forever down, and I will be a great and wise hygienist.  I know this kind of opportunity is only once in a lifetime."

Smiles Forever has come a Long Way!

Smiles Forever is grateful to have come a long way, but we need that steady flow of donations to keep our school and outreach clinics going.  Paola speaks for all of us, "Ï want to thank God, Smiles Forever, and all the people who donates so I can be in this program."

Founder Sandy spending time with a student
Founder Sandy spending time with a student
Tea with Fabiola, Paola, Sandy, Jovana, Aracely
Tea with Fabiola, Paola, Sandy, Jovana, Aracely
New for us  Dental Chair & Demonstration Equipment
New for us Dental Chair & Demonstration Equipment
Fabila at Community Service Clinic
Fabila at Community Service Clinic
Classroom of children learning dental hygiene
Classroom of children learning dental hygiene
Oct 31, 2014

Bolivians Help Fund Dental Care for their Children

Bolivian Children at Community Service Clinic
Bolivian Children at Community Service Clinic

 

800 Bolivians Help Fund Dental Care for Thousands of Their Indigenous Children!

Smiles Forever's dedication of bringing dental care for 14 years to the indigenous community has been recognized.  The work of the outreach program from the dental hygienist school for over a decade has been rewarded with help from the Cochabamba community.  VIP magazine wrote an article about the astounding good & generous dental care being given as a key part of the dental school outreach.  80 chefs served 800 dinners to benefit Smiles Forever. How wonderful it is to have our local Bolivians rally to serve the underserved who live among us.

Bolivian Benefit Assures a Stream of Supplies for our Outreach Clinics

Our school director recently estimated we have helped bring dental care and treatment to over 20,000, and we have been helping the broader community since almost day one.  Our goal is to keep this charity outreach going strong to help the next 7,000 indigenous children.  With your help we can not only keep up the good work, but go even farther.  We hope to go back to the surrounding areas outside the core of Cochabamba and into the villages.

Fabiola, Paola, myself Sandy the Founder/ Director of Smiles Forever, Jobanna, & Aracelly Thank You!

I thought you would enjoy seeing a picture of me & some of my students all dressed up and attending a Women's Tea.  Part of what our mission is about is to bring confidence to these young women.  These are some of the wonderful hygienists-in-training who go out and introduce the children to the idea & practice of good dental health.

Adele Helps a Teen-aged Girl at the Burn Clinic

As you can tell from the picture of Adele and her patient, there is a caring bond between them.  This teenaged girl was severely burned--this happens way too often in a country where much of the population cooks on open fires.  Someday there may be a next chapter in this girl's life.  If things work out, and if there is financial backing for her, this burn survivor could come to our hygienist school.  What a difference that educational opportunity would make--particularly because it may be hard for her to find a husband because of her scars. 

Stories from Our Patients

We are now beginning the process of collecting stories from some of those thousands we see.  Children like to share how excited they are to see us.  Sometimes these children marvel at even handling a toothbrush.  These are children who are not watching TV with commercials about every possible thing available in the modern world.

They take our little plastic mirrors and their toy animals and try to brush the teeth of the stuffed animals--emulating our treatment.  These children are practicing what we preach!  "What about me!" Everyone says because they all want to take part.  Afterwards, they take their little mirrors and smile and look handsome or glamourous and exclaim, "Don't I look pretty (bonita)!"

Invitation to Join our December Month-long Global Giving Campaign

Coming in December, look for this key project "Fund Dental Care for 7,000 Indigenous Children (#17607)" as part of GlobalGiving's holiday campaign to encourage recurring givers.  The bar is raised high to win monetary prizes from $3,000 to $500.  The prizes are awarded for either most unique donors or most money raised & many runner-up levels are awarded, too.  We have to have 30 unique donors and a minimum of $3,000 raised during the 31 days of December. (Plan on donating with PayPal or debit/credit card for ease.  Also, you may send in a check if it is cleared by December 23rd.  Other donations like gift cards or text donations don't qualify during this giving window.

Mark your reminder calendars for Dec. 1st - Dec. 31st.  Tell your family and friends, and join us in this great funding opportunity.  We would be honored to have you on our team!

Adela at Burn Center
Adela at Burn Center
Fabiola, Paola, Sandy, Jobanna, Aracely at tea
Fabiola, Paola, Sandy, Jobanna, Aracely at tea
Beautiful Bolivian girl
Beautiful Bolivian girl

donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Smiles Forever

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Smiles Forever on GreatNonProfits.org.