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!
We're excited to introduce our first micro-project which will directly help with Lucy's schooling. Visit Project #15212 and meet Lucy Mariela Cachi Lopez first hand, finding out how grateful she is to have the opportunity of dental hygiene schooling. View our short video slideshow giving an overview of Lucy's schooling program and the many other ways she helps. Lucy assists in giving dental care to children facing chemotherapy, to children recovering from severe burns, and also helps by giving dental care to children of incarcerated parents. Your holiday season gift even provides Lucy bus fare, and helps defray some of the costs of running the school itself.
Internationally-traveled Journalist Praises Our Bolivian Project Penny LeGate, a journalist who has traveled the world, served as Smiles Forever's Master of Ceremonies at our 13th Annual Bolivian-Benefit Auction.
Penny described what a wonderful experience she has had seeing the Bolivian hygienist school start from the grassroots and continue to develop into an amazing opportunity for indigenous women. Penny praised our Bolivian project which continues to serve so many indigenous people and to help women make a difference in a misogynistic society.
Girls, housed in orphanages until they are eighteen, usually are abruptly sent packing with no homes or family to help them. Smiles Forever's organization stops this inhumane practice by helping the lucky few.
Our dental hygienist school reaches out to young women such as these, homeless through no fault of their own, to offer them shelter, an education, a growing sense of self-worth through counseling, and also through the service to their community.
Smiles Forever Charity Foundation thanks you for keeping the doors to their school and their future open!
The Mosoj Punchay center is dedicated to the rehab of the children that have been severely burned. After surgery the children can live there while receiving further surgeries and physical therapy. Parents can visit during the week. Smiles Forever Clinic has awarded Roberto (fictional name) Patient of the Year and provided him needed dental treatment. He is recovering from 45% of his body being burned. Roberto is always the first to jump in the chair for dental treatment. All of his fillings are complete (14) but most importantly his dental hygiene improved to 100%. Congratulations Roberto!!! He still loves to come and visit and support the other dental patients.
Hogar Zapatito Boys Shelter--- With the opening of our new clinic, dental services for the boys from Hogar Zapatito will now be increased to include afternoon appointments. We are continuing to complete restorative treatment to this group who has suffered so much from living on the streets of rural Vinto. Many had never seen a dentist before but were able to overcome their fears with caring hands and hearts.
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