Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!

by Smiles Forever
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Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Provide Dental Care for 44,000 Bolivian Children!
Sleeping Bolivian boy awaits dental care
Sleeping Bolivian boy awaits dental care

Springtime Brings Expanded Dental Care for Children in Chapare

Smiles Forever is so excited to be taking our special cavity preventing dental care to the youngest children in the tropical village of Chapare.

As Director and Founder, I have dreamed for 17 years to not just be putting out fires--pulling teeth and treating horrible abscesses, but instead I have dreamed about reaching the children with baby teeth and preventing decay.  Now with this specially funded project over an hour's drive from Cochabamba, we can use a special compound to coat teeth as a protection.  We will be tracking a few hundred children over the course of the next three years.  Our pioneering research with these indigenous children will pave the way for copycat projects worldwide.

From being trapped in a Nightmare witnessing pain to Fulfilling a Dream of Hope

I will never forget the day that changed the entire direction of my life: it was over 17 years ago and I had come to Bolivia as a practicing dental hygienist to offer what help I could.  My team worked from a homeless shelter.  I was so busy I did not notice if the line to receive urgent dental care went into the street, but it does remind me of what we see now on TV in refugee centers.  We had set up a sanitary area with equipment and had a well-stocked supply of medicine to manage the pain of treatment, or so we thought.  Skipping ahead to the end of the story-- because you can well imagine both the turmoil and the thank yous from so many people so anxious to receive dental care -- we ran out of medicine to use during surgery.  Never-the-less, the last child was in dire straights and his mother begged us to help him.  There was no turning back when all hands tried to soothe and calm him, so that we could remove his infected tooth.

This is why I founded Smiles Forever and why I personally am so grateful to receive grants from foundations and to receive your thoughtful gifts.  I think we will reach the benchmark of treating 40,000 soon, and I marvel at how it all started from the dire need of one small child.

Little by Little Global Giving Campaign 50% Matching April 3rd through April 7th.  Your donations of up to $50 will be matched at 50% as long as the $50,000 in funds remains.  We thank you for putting this on your calendar and planning to give early in the day.

This 50% matching opportunity is a key one on the Global Giving calendar.  It encourages everyone to step up and give.  It reminds me so much of how Smiles Forever started building our organization "little by little."

Spring Smiles Forever Party for Seattle Area Backers:  Join the board members who are hosting a meet & greet in a private room at McMinneman's Anderson School site in Bothell, Washington.  We will be gathering at 7:00 p.m. Thursday March 30th and staying until 10:00 p.m.  Great Prize baskets will be raffled off, and all who pay the nominal $20 fee are eligible.  Thank you everyone.

Bolivian boy in large hat at clinic
Bolivian boy in large hat at clinic
Pretty with pigtails
Pretty with pigtails
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Wilson at Smiles Forever office
Wilson at Smiles Forever office

An Update of Wilson, a teenager who lost his arms from a bridge accident:  Last year at Christmas, Smiles Forever brought you the heart-warming story of the courage and slow recovery of Wilson who fell from a bridge while working with his father.  Wilson had caught himself on electrical wires and suffered severe burns.  My father had donated a laptop computer so Wilson could continue to study, using a special wand.  Last year's Christmas miracle was that Wilson was selected by Shriners Hospital in the U.S. for treatment--and they only select one child from Bolivia.  Now his healing is far enough advanced, that we are helping him overcome getting an ID without fingerprints and satisfying dental and health documentation for him to obtain a passport.

powered by GlobalGiving logoGive a Christmas gift to Wilson and all his friends now, during the British Global Giving Christmas campaign.  Click on the link above to donate in British pounds so that your gifts will count toward generous U.K. prizes.  You may chose the option to email or print a card to honor that special person in your life, or the memory of a special friend or family member.  Smiles Forever will gladly accept donations in memory of our Founder Sandy's mother Eddie who passed away this summer shortly after the wedding of her grandson.  This has been a year of much joy with our international award, and the sorrow of losing Eddie who has been so inspirational to Smiles Forever.

Our beloved friend, Wilson spent a couple of hours during last week between different labs and doctors’ practices in order to complete the requirements for him to go to the United States of America to complete his physical rehab treatment and to receive his prosthetic hands.  He is a typical teenager and could not help but asking, "why are we doing this?" or commenting, "this is boring." Mostly he likes to talk about cars, motorcycles and soccer, or about aspiring to be an engineer to build bridges like the one which nearly took his life.  One day he spontaneously told our clinic director something off of the charts: "Tell Sandy that I love her.  Because of her I will be someone who you all could be proud off!"

Besides the labs and a visit to our clinic to complete the dental certification for him to travel, we started the bureaucratic paperwork for Wilson to renew his ID and to get his first passport. Problems are something we all have to face, but in Wilson's case the problems can be quite large. Since he lost his hands he cannot register his fingerprints, but we solved the issue and he will be able to get a new ID.  Something unexpected from this effort:  because he is now registered in Bolivia with handicapped status, he gets a free bus pass.  Also, Bolivia has passed a law saying that 5% of employees should be hired who have special needs.  This is exciting because the new rule makes it more likely Wilson will be able to find work.

Wilson will portray a Santa's elf to spread Christmas joy at the Children's Burn Unit party

Wilson will spend Christmas with his family, but he will actively participate in our Christmas party for the children at the burn wing of the hospital for children personifying one of Santa’s elves, and Alejandro Beckrich our director for Bolivia will personify Santa.

Also, we have already sent the translated lab results to the doctors in the United States,so the process is completed 70%.

More December Highlights

December is always a crazy month here at Smiles Forever since we are going on vacation and beneficiaries of the community service clinic have different activities. Some return with their families and others are moving to different shelters and situations like that; therefore, we push to complete as much work as possible. Thus, our community service clinic is lately packed with patients to the point that there are no more waiting chairs available.  Fundacion vidas, Foundation for Life, helps our new blind patients and their families.  We were able to serve them before Christmas.

From the Smiles Forever team in Bolivia we would like to thank all our donors and supporters for the efforts and donations received this 2016. We look forward to having you with us in 2017, and wish you all a Merry Christmas and blessings during these holidays and that the new year brings peace, health, and opportunities to you and your families.

Love, Sandy &

The Smiles Forever Team

Sandy's mother Eddie-- a Smiles Forever Champion
Sandy's mother Eddie-- a Smiles Forever Champion
Shirley who helps at our clinic
Shirley who helps at our clinic
Vivid image from Bolivian market
Vivid image from Bolivian market
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Adela now working for Smiles Forever clinic
Adela now working for Smiles Forever clinic

Adela Cannot Imagine a Life without Giving Dental Care to Needy Children:  Adela's Story of 4 Years of Learning from & Serving the Smiles Forever School and Clinic

I was born in the Province of Independencia, Bolivia 31 years ago.  My life took on a new turn over 4 years ago when I went to the  Smiles Forever school. 

Now for last 2 years I have worked as a staff Hygienist and instructor in the community service clinic.

I had heard of  Smiles Forever from my friend Victoria who was a former Smiles Forever student.  At that time I was going to night school to obtain my high school diploma. I moved from the countryside years ago and I was living at my Godmother's house helping there as a maid.  My mother couldn’t support me since we were really poor.

I wanted something different than just being a maid for someone with money.  I wanted a future! It was difficult to convince my Godmother, but finally she accepted the idea to let me try to become a dental hygienist. I had an interview and psychologist evaluation and they mentioned they will call me.  Days passed and they called me mentioning that I wasn’t a perfect fit for the program, but I insisted every day --because no matter how difficult it will be I was mentalized to be the best. I was sure that no other chances will show up for me in the future.

I kept asking until one day they gave the chance to try it for a couple of days and to see if I liked it. It was different and it was hard, but I gave my 110% and I graduated with honors. Let me be honest at first I just wanted something to help me move on, but after a while I've realized what we do here at Smiles Forever is so important.  It is not only about individuals and getting free education and opportunities, it is also more about so many things like helping children.  I can help people in need, people who never visited a dentist before. In between Smiles Forever's purpose is to give opportunities and to change the lives of women through education. After I had graduated, a position as a staff hygienist and instructor for Smiles Forever was offered to me and I took it no questions asked.

My Dreams are not just Dust in the Wind!

After 2 years working for Smiles Forever and being part of this amazing team, I’ve realized that this organization has a lot of potential for the future. I love being a hygienist and I know we have many obstacles and diverse difficulties to overcome, but we will make it as a team. Also, I cannot imagine what will happen to so many children who without us will not have any dental treatment. My mom is now super proud of me and I’m helping her economically which gives both of us a lot of happiness. I’m still living with my Godmother; the difference is now she realizes my dreams are not just dust in the wind.  She is way much more supportive since I’m no longer her part-time maid. I still help her, but as a family member. Soon I will reach one of my other goals to become 100% independent through hard work and saving money and projecting and planning as they taught me in  Smiles Forever.

I wish to thank all of you who gave me help to make my dreams come true.  Sincerely,  Adela RDH

Current Happenings
Sandy is currently in the Maria del Rosario in the Chapare province, about 3 hours from Cochabamba, Bolivia. She and her team will be spending 5 days there covering oral hygiene topics including tooth brushing and flossing as well as broader issues that encompass oral health such as nutrition and diet.

Help Save the teeth of the children in this entire village.  Smiles Forever is beginning an ambitious 3-year program to use a tooth decay preventative coating during the critical teeth formation & enamel building time of childhood.  

The British Global Giving UK branch is launching a week-long 50% matching campaign called Little by Little where individuals may give up to 50 pounds (approximately $75) to any project.  Please donate on Oct. 25th - Nov. 1st to any or all of our 3 active "Smiles Forever" projects.  See http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/leaderboards/little-by-little-by-little-2016/?showAll=true

Watch the countdown & the Leaderboard to see if matching money is still available.  Only donations on this UK site in British pounds count towards matching & prizes.  We thank you for your support & thank our British friends for helping so many worldwide projects.

Adela helping patient with worn shoes
Adela helping patient with worn shoes
Chapare cuties
Chapare cuties
Chapare another trio of girls
Chapare another trio of girls
Chapare child lucky to receive dental care
Chapare child lucky to receive dental care
Chapare children with toothbrushes
Chapare children with toothbrushes
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Quechan children with their new toothbrushes
Quechan children with their new toothbrushes

 

The Quechan Values of Truth & Hard Work:  Quechan Traditions Honored

Our dental hygienist trainees help provide dental care in our service clinic, depending upon where they are in their 2-years of schooling and practical hours.  These young women are the lifeblood of our organization and make possible reaching thousands of children yearly to provide dental screenings and care.

Young Indigenous Women Gaining Skills for Life:  Believing, Learning, Hoping, and Sharing

  • Believing:  Our Smiles Forever Young Women understand believing in a better Bolivia can be a reality.  No woman should have to endure a second class status, where she is relegated to having many children, accepting domestic abuse, in this poorest country in South America with a 75% illiteracy rate.
  • Learning:  Our Smiles Forever Young Women understand that education for themselves and their children, both girls and boys, is the key to raising social consicousness and escaping a life of oppressive poverty.

One of our students who speaks Quechan helped look after a woman who was living in the median of a nearby street.  She would daily bring her food and hope.  We are so proud of the spirit of our indigenous students!

  • Hoping:  Our Smiles Forever Young Women understand that the broad spectrum of personal health and health for their families is critical for their well-being.  We encourage our students to buy and prepare their own food.  We provide a monthly stipend so that they may purchase shampoo and suitable clothing to not only improve their personal hygiene, but also to enhance their self-esteem.
  • Sharing:  Our Smiles Forever Young Women understand the two-year commitment they have made to become a skilled dental hygienist will change their lives and those of their loved ones, and it will have the broadening effect of improving their community.  Our graduates continue to serve their local society by giving dental care to those without.

The Public (fee for service) Clinic: 

This clinic has a two-fold purpose. First to provide professional dental cleanings, as well as top quality restorative dental care to the people of Cochabamba. This gives us an opportunity to spread the word about prevention. All patients receive dental cleanings (just like the U.S.) and are advised to return on a 3 to 6 month basis for exam and cleaning as needed. Patients pay for the dental services and all monies return to support the community service clinic and the dental hygiene school. Secondly senior students have the opportunity to work with the general public before they graduate. We offer all dental service services to the general public.

Ninos con Valor, children that have been affected by aids, is one of our shelters we serve.  I would translate this as Children with Courage, and they certainly are.  No one knows if Bolivia, a totally land-locked country, will escape Zika carrying mosquitos, but unfortunately the poor in Bolivia have not been spared AIDS.

Our donors care about the least of these, our brothers and sistersThank you everyone!

Let's all get together September 8th for a Meet & Greet appreciation night for our donors both longtime and new.  Details will follow in our August newsletter.

Also in September, on Wednesday the 21st, Global Giving will be hosting a time-release bonus day.  This means that for the Seattle time zone, funds will be added at the 6:00 a.m. opening, and also at noon.  This is a great opportunity for our friends and family to put in their donations at lunchtime.

 

Smiling Bolivian Children
Smiling Bolivian Children
Students with dentist outside service clinic
Students with dentist outside service clinic
Smiles Forever students studying with elder
Smiles Forever students studying with elder
Smiles Forever Founder Sandy with lucky children
Smiles Forever Founder Sandy with lucky children
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Girls in pink & yellow receive dental screening
Girls in pink & yellow receive dental screening

GlobalGiving's Chloe Pays a Visit to Smiles Forever in Bolivia!

Isn't it truly amazling that GlobalGiving cares enough about us here in out-of-the-way Bolivia to make a "house call" and see how we are doing?  Chloe arrived on a typical busy day here in Cochabamba, which is a fast-paced metropolitan area in the beautiful high valley where fruit and vegetables thrive.  Smiles Forever has been building our base of dental care for 16 years, and for over five years of that time we have partnered with GlobalGiving.  If I am not losing track, someone has come from Global Giving's main office three times.  We are so privileged to share what we are doing here as we expand dental care for the indigenous peoples in ever-widening circles.

  • Chloe visited Smiles the 3rd of May, 2016 at 10:30 AM, we picked her up from her hotel.
  • She visited Smiles in the morning: interacted with some of the patients from the community clinic. Also visited Smiles Forever clinic (fee for service clinic). Chloe toured the entire facility and we had coffee and explained in detail what we do and how we do it and how GG is so important for us.
  • Then lunch with Sandy Kemper and discussed the cultural differences between North and South America. Also, we discussed about the other details like working with indigenous students and accommodating their personal baggage and how we need to change and adapt to new situations and overcome different issues.
  • Then we visited the pediatric burn wing at the children’s hospital, so Chloe could meet with some of our beneficiary organizations. Seeing firsthand how much is the need for these kids and others in similar situation (HIV, cancer , abused, etc), was very emotional.
  • In the afternoon, we returned to Smiles Forever  facilities so Chloe could meet the rest of the staff and some of the students. We again met with different patients from community service. We exchanged ideas about founding projects and she will boost us with corporate donors once she gets back.
  • After her visit we took Chloe to the hotel and she expressed,  “I really appreciate the time you took to give me a tour and explain so much about your organization……now I understand what you guys do and how complicated it is to work down here.” She thinks that a small organization like Smiles Forever is really important to provide service for all those in need.

In return, we would like to say that Chloe is a wonderful field representative for GlobalGiving: she is caring, inquisitive, and responsive to the needs of our organization.  Chloe added she was sorry not to meet Nancy Clark, our Project Leader for the entire time we have worked with GlobalGiving for the betterment of our corner of the world. 

Smiles Forever Makes House Calls!

We have 16 Homes we Visit to bring Dental Screenings and Care, and we also pack up our whole mobile clinic and do "House Calls" to entire villages, esp. Ushpa Ushpa, Villa Tunari, and Morachata.

Our next ambitious "house call" will be a road trip in July to the tropical village of Ushpa Ushpa.

Smiles Forever is advancing to another chapter of community service. Many new organizations are finding out about our wonderful preventative and restorative care and are contacting us instead of us reaching out to others.

We work closely with organizations and parents training them to be on time and not to miss appointments. Completing all the antibiotics required for abscesses and completing the root canal therapy is vital. Working with a culture who has had little exposure to prevention can sometimes be frustrating. We solve this by being patient and extremely organized. All patients or organization leaders are given reminder calls prior to appointments. To prevent further decay we stress a 6-month recall for cleaning, exam and fluoride. All parents and staff of organizations are trained in preventative dental care techniques and provided dental services as well. We encourage toothbrushing and proper nutrition at home and in organizations and shelters.

This what our latest new organization had to say:

"Smiles Forever is an amazing organization to work with. We have learned so much about prevention of cavities and gum disease for the children as well as ourselves. When they work with the children they are so caring, gentle, and loving. They even call us at night to check and see if the children are in pain!"

Smiles Forever will receive an International Dental Hygienist Award in June in Switzerland
In June, Sandy will travel from Bolivia to be honored with a prestigious award for leading the way with her ground-breaking work in the 3rd world.  The Smiles Forever model of using education of indigenous women in the marketable skill of dental hygiene to bring better dental care to a nation is being recognized for excellence. You may remember Sandy and Smiles Forever were nominated last October in a conference in Victoria, B.C., and we are very proud to announce that she and the foundation have won.  Our hope is that our success in an extremely difficult environment can motivate others in similarly challenging countries to try and change lives and improve dental health in the process.
Summer Event Planning Underway:
Fresh from our fun-filled Meet & Greet with dental hygienist alumni of a Bolivian learning trip, in the local Seattle area, Smiles Forever  is saying, "Let's do this again!"  We are now planning a summertime event, perhaps sometime during the last weekend in July if all pans out.  This will be another opportunity to visit with the Founder & Executive Director Sandy Kemper and several members of her new board to exchange ideas.
As quickly as details are finalized, we will send out a Save-the-Date notice.
But do not wait for summertime, to share your ideas.  We are always here to listen, and comments may be sent to sandykemper@smilesforever.org. 
Put June 15th, a 50% matching day for our Superstar organization on your calendar. 

Sandy Kemper in Bolivian jacket receiving award
Sandy Kemper in Bolivian jacket receiving award
Beautiful flower in Bolivia's Tropical zone
Beautiful flower in Bolivia's Tropical zone
Chloe from Global Giving
Chloe from Global Giving
Bolivian girl in pink with pigtails
Bolivian girl in pink with pigtails
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Organization Information

Smiles Forever

Location: Renton, WA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Sandy Kemper
Renton, WA United States
$49,737 raised of $99,990 goal
 
346 donations
$50,253 to go
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