Project #7925

Help Dental Hygiene Students Make Bolivia Smile!

by Smiles Forever
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
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 This year has been an exciting one since we participated in a (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         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 are of immense help.  Click to donate to our micro-projects, "Fund Vania's Journey from a Shelter to Success" #18747  or "Marcela Needs Safety While Studying Dental Hygiene"  #18744     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

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
Dr. Nayda A. in blue dental cap & Hygienist Adela
Dr. Nayda A. in blue dental cap & Hygienist Adela

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%.

Meet Nayda

       "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!



Adela at Burn Center giving Dental Treatment
Adela at Burn Center giving Dental Treatment

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 Sagari with Smiles Forever
Sonja Sagari with Smiles Forever's Sandy Kemper

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.

Trees Aglow in Bolivia
Trees Aglow in Bolivia
Party at Children
Party at Children's Burn Center in Bolivia

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Organization Information

Smiles Forever

Location: Renton, WA - USA
Website: https:/​/​
Project Leader:
Sandy Kemper
Renton, WA United States
$79,785 raised of $99,000 goal
448 donations
$19,215 to go
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