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 email@example.com.
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."
Smiles Forever is completing another banner year!
Our project is coming full circle. We are happy to announce the addition of a new staff member. Dr. Nayda A., our former student is returning to us as an instructor. Nayda graduated five years ago as a dental hygienist. After graduation she worked as a dental hygienist in a local private clinic, while she simultaneously trained to become a dentist at the public university San Simon here in Cochabamba.
Smiles Forever's graduate Nayda returns to work as a dentist
Smiles Forever provides free dental care to the underserved population of children and adults in Cochabamba through our community service project. Nayda, as a young dental hygienist, spent countless hours working with these patients. Through the program she developed a real sense of community. After graduation she came to us and asked if there was any opportunity for her to help. We had an opening in the community service clinc as a dentist. For the past three months Nayda has given back to those in need. She is an excellent and caring dentist. By using her time wisely, and by mastering streamlined dental techniques, Nayda has increased her patient load by almost 50%.
"I want to thank all the people that support Smiles Forever with their different donations because the donors and the people who support Smiles Forever doesn't know by firsthand all the good which they are doing for children in need. I will keep giving the best of me for those kids and future dental hygiene students."
Smiles Forever serves the under-served indigenous community
This year we will be working with 13 other non-profit organizations providing their dental care. Our outreach program will serve children who are the poorest of the poor: these children live in homeless shelters, or live with their parents in jail. We also serve children who have been badly burnt, children affected by HIV, and abused boys and girls -- about 2,000 in total this year!
Smiles Forever's projects all benefit from Microsoft Corporation's summer matching funds "contests."
Our parent project "Send a Homeless Bolivian Woman to School for a Year (#7925 ranked a respectable 411th out of 14,294 overall projects), and our current micro-projects: "Sonia's Road: From Orphan to Dental Professional" (#17037 ranked an amazing 13th out of 14,294 Global Giving total projects) & "Give Aracelly Dental Training to Escape Servitude" (#17502 ranked a stellar 94th out of same 14,294 projects) all earned matching funding.
Recounting the Wild Giving Flurry of Matching Day:
A simple 100% YouthSpark matching day flared up quickly to bonfire proportions. In case you haven't heard, the June challenge broke the record for sizzling speed--donations came in so rapidly that the $200,000 in funds provided by Microsoft was consumed in just over 5 minutes. It was a true conflagration as human hearts spoke with the fire of their passion for favorite organizations which benefit not only Bolivia's, but the world's youth.
There is no way of expressing fully how important YouthSpark's gift will be towards starting up this fall's Dental Hygienist school's operations. We will be not only welcoming our new students, but also welcoming back our 2nd year students.
Hearing Our Student's Stories:
You've met our students Sonia (#17037), Aracelly (#17502), Adela ("Share Adela's Dream/ Hone Dental Hygienist Skills" (#16713), and Lucy ("Send Lucy to Bolivian Hygienist School for a Year" #15212). The way YouthSpark projects work is they stay active for 90 days or until fully funded, then they are "Retired."
Now meet Fabila ("Fund Fabila's Future with Dental Hygienist School" #17592 ranked 36th). Fabila's story is one of turning a life of despair and neglect into one of promise and purpose.
Recognizing our Contributors Big & Small:
While the dollar goes far in Bolivia, it is nevertheless often stretched thin. To launch our school, we relied on a small donor base back home in the states, but increasingly the answer is our world-wide donor pool.
Sincerest thanks to our individual donors like you, and please allow us to add:
Thank you Microsoft YouthSpark and Global Giving!
Sonja's Story: Five Years After Graduating from Smiles Forever's Dental Hygienist Bolivian School
Sonja Sagare graduated from Smiles Forever's Dental Hygienist school five years ago with honors and many good wishes bestowed. She is a bright woman with a bright future & a bright & beautiful smile. Since her graduation, Sonja has worked as a dental hygienist for one of the leading dental clinics in Cochabamba, with the esteemed Dr. Rocha.
Furthering Sonja's Studies:
Sonja also has been trying to study at the dental school, Universidad Mayor de San Simon, in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Sonja Teaching Dental Hygienist Skills to Our Current Students:
Since it is challenging to work full time and attend dental school, Sonja has decided to give back to Smiles Forever by working part time in the hygiene program teaching the dental assisting skills she learned at Dr. Rocha's office.
Saving $ and Giving Back Time:
Sonja will be saving every last penny for dental school and is currently looking for a sponsor. Sonja also is involved in the Dental Hygiene Society of Cochabamba, and spent last weekend working in the rural community of Uspha providing sealants and tooth brushing skills to over 300 school children.
Sonja's Humble Background:
Sonja came from humble beginnings. She lost both parents at an early age, and was raised by her older sister until age seven. Her sister, fearful she'd lose Sonja, taught her at home in the evenings. Then Sonja lived at Madre de Dios (women's shelter) most of her teenage years before attending Smiles Forever's dental hygienist training program.
Dental Hygienist Students Pass Exam Hurdle
Our students prepared for their muy dificil exams with much enthusiasm, as well as unavoidable apprehension.
After a grueling six hours (mercifully divided into 3-hour testing windows), the students all triumphed over multiple choice questions, the task of detailing clinical cases, and those dreaded essay questions.
Hands-on Exam Section
Then each student was required to have a difficult cleaning patient for the clinical exam. Students prepared their patients by taking x-rays, and from those films and from careful observation, assessing the patient's dental needs. A medical history was taken to complete the picture.
Further Experience Required
Even though the students have passed their exams, they must continue to complete requirements such as cleaning the teeth of 50 patients. The standards are very high at this Bolivian school. A program this intense prepares the students according to professional standards elsewhere in the world.
14 Years of Teaching a Marketable Skill to Young Women
For our friends and supporters at Global Giving, we thank you for helping the lives of these young women change dramatically. For over a dozen years, our graduates have become more confident and continue to work as true professionals. We even have a student going on to be a dentist, and what an accomplishment that is!
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