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.
Dec 16, 2015

Shirley Benefits from Hygienist Scholarship

Shirley 2nd from left pictured with Dr. Quinteros
Shirley 2nd from left pictured with Dr. Quinteros

Shirley was awarded a Smiles Forever scholarship when she was just 17.  It has been our honor and joy to watch her turn into a beautiful and studious woman of 18. Because Shirley is so eloquent, I want to include both her opening impression and her updated story.   Sandy Kemper, Founder of Smiles Forever

Here's Shirley's Story when she first came to us:

Hello my name is Shirley and I’m 17 years old.

I just started the dental hygiene program at Smiles Forever. Dental hygiene is a beautiful career, and I’ve learned a lot already and I’m going through the program so I can become a dental hygienist. Also, one of my dreams in life is to become a dentist, but my family has a lot of economic problems and also social problems. Sometimes my parents don’t get along and fight a lot and that makes me really sad and also makes my little brothers sad. Most of the discussions my parents have are because of money. I always talk to my little brothers about positive things in life and that we have to have faith in God and I know that everything will change in our family, especially when I can work as a hygienist and help to provide.

I want to thank to all the Smiles Forever donors since they are changing my life and many other girls’ lives with this program and to accomplish one of my dreams, and I promise that I will not let you down.

Love and blessings,

Shirley

 Here's Shirley's Holiday Letter Expressing Thankfulness:

My name is Shirley.  I have 18 years. I am from Cochabamba, Bolivia.

I have 5 younger brothers who I love. They are under my responsibility when my parents go out to work. I'm from a family of limited financial resources; all the money my parents earn is just enough to eat and basic expenses.

My parents are heavily indebted to the bank and make every effort to pay. So I'm now starting to work to pay for my transportation to go to Smiles Forever. For me it is a great help they opened the doors and give me this scholarship. Thanks to Smiles Forever and a dental hygienist career, I will be able to move forward with my family.

To the Smiles Forever supporters, thank you for helping me fulfill my dreams.  Blessings, Shirley

Send a Homeless Bolivian Woman to School for a Year will be featured by Global Giving on Dec. 26th!

This is a wonderful holiday gift to us from Global Giving for being faithful about giving feedback & for being lucky.  We're thankful to be featured on what traditionally is a prime day for giving.  Share the news & don't forget to personally view the front page of Global Giving.   Simply go to www.globalgiving.org.  

Happy Holidays from us here at Smiles Forever to you & your loved ones!

Shirley on the left age 18
Shirley on the left age 18
Shirley 17 in school
Shirley 17 in school's dramatic hallway
Dec 16, 2015

It's Never Too Late to Study & Succeed!

Paola in dental treatment room
Paola in dental treatment room

Here's Paola's Story of Gratitude:

Hello Everyone,

 My name is Paola and I am 34 years old. I am a mom of 3 children:  Kyara 17, Luke 9 and Camila 4 years.  My children are under my care, and I also study the dental hygiene career at the Smiles Forever Foundation school.

Smiles Forever has given me their support and confidence to keep going on my studies in dental hygiene, so that in the future I will be able to work as a dental hygienist.  Then I can continue to help my children with their education and food. This could also help my husband a bit with the expenses and the house.

As a woman I want to give a message to all those mothers who could not study; just tell them it's never too late to study and succeed.  When you set your goals and if you are lucky enough to have an organization like Smiles Forever who supports and cares about you, then you can change your life with education.  I have only words of gratitude for them because they care about me, and by extension they care for my family.

Thank you for helping Smiles Forever, Paola

Note from Smiles Forever Founder:

Paola, and the indigenous mothers like her, have shown they deserve a place in our training program.  We see a keen sense of dedication and a strong drive to succeed for the sake of their children.  We plan to continue to offer spots to single mothers, or to mothers from a family struggling to survive and do the best they can under difficult circumstances.  We know that women can influence their entire family and even instill a desire to learn into their children's upbringing.  Sometimes the children come by, so we have fun watching them grow during the two years their mothers commit to complete our program.

Thanks for helping us give an opportunity to these mothers.

Invitation to You--Help us Plan for 2016!

1.  Share your thoughts or concerns at any time with sandykemper@smilesforever.org.  We want to not only know what you're thinking, but we'd like to establish a dialog with both our old and our new donors.

2.  Tell us what sounds like fun.  What event would you love to participate in back in our home base of Seattle?  Would you like to see another auction at the yacht club in the fall?  Would you like to have a more intimate opportunity in the spring or summer to get together and not only support our work, but learn more about what we do and have an exchange of ideas?

3.  Are you ready for another online auction?  Do you still wish to support our Fund-in-Need prior to the end of 2015, or should we ask our donor if we can keep trying to raise the $10,000 for matching into 2016?

Laura and Paola, both mothers studying model
Laura and Paola, both mothers studying model
Dec 15, 2015

Appalling Lack of Dental Care in Bolivia Described

Aracely helping with class
Aracely helping with class

Smiles Forever Helps Rectify the Sad State of Dental Care Available to Miners' Families

In Bolivia where 85 per cent of the population is indigenous or of Spanish origin, often the gap between the classes seems too large to surmount.  Smiles Forever has courageously tried to bridge this gap in the indigenous population of Morochata, Bolivia where many are retired silver miners who receive limited health care benefits from the country.  Their families suffer from dental diseases and need both urgent and preventative care.  Currently, Smiles Forever takes a dental clinic out on the road to serve this desperate population.  One of the interns, Aracely, has been working for weeks with a local dentist.  She has a wonderful heart for these people, and Aracely is building upon her skills.  She will still need to return to the Cochabamba school for further training and preparation for being part of a dental practice.  At that time, she may have an opportunity to continue to live in this community of former miners.

Geovanna's Life Journey: from surviving under a bridge with her siblings and alcoholic mother---to full time Smiles Forever hygienist trainer, supporting her children and forgiving her mother

Another student from our school, Geovanna, has gone far in her training.  Please watch the short video attached which shares the story of Geovanna whose mother was an alcoholic and lived with her children under a bridge.  Geovanna found a home in a shelter, Madre de Dios, which is now closed.  This orphanage/shelter was established by a nun from Philadelphia who really was like a Mother Theresa for Cochabamba.  Unfortunately, Geovanna was also abused sexually and she found herself homeless with her baby.  She returned to the shelter and found a new life by accepting a scholarship from Smiles Forever.  Now Geovanna works full time as a practical dental hygienist instructor.  Geovanna lives in a single room with her two children and rehabilitated mother.  Geovanna, as part of her training and work, has given of her talents to help the Morochata community.

Welcome Holiday Giftcard Recipients -- Please Redeem your Cards with Smiles Forever Projects

This is a wonderful time of year to share with our fellow passengers on planet earth.  Bolivia is basked in sunshine as the country is south of the equator.  Some of the warmest temperatures are right now during the holiday season, topping 100 degrees.  Our hygienist school will be back in session soon.  We actually only have a single fan--no air conditioning.  Perhaps with your generosity, we can splurge for a second fan.  Of course, the care of our patients and the instruction of our students continues even in hot weather.  We'd like to wish you all the best of Holiday Seasons and send out a hello to all of you who are enjoying the snow of a White Christmas.

Geovanna
Geovanna

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