Smiles are key

March 28, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

"Peace begins with a smile" Mother Teresa.  

This is not a story about how to skillfully pose a person to achieve a flattering portrait with just the right expression or how to elicit a winning smile for that infamous “headshot”.  It’s about an extended community, a fresh start and generous professionals who demonstrated a beautiful smile truly comes from the heart.

 

For the past eight years my local dental practice closes its door for an afternoon and opens its heart to provide free dental care as part of the “Give Kids A Smile” initiative.  This is not about impersonal charity: it’s about caring and making a difference in a tangible way.  In the West we know good oral hygiene is vital for long-term health in so many ways but we forget that access to skilled staff, regular exams, x-rays, sterile conditions and even clean water are a luxury for far too many people.  

 

What do you picture in your mind’s eye when you think of a dentist’s office?  I bet it’s Novacane, not Ninjas.  I found a scene with children darting around the cubicles playing “hide and seek”, coloring books scattered everywhere, “Nemo” playing on the laptop, children nestling into a friend’s lap as they turn the pages of a picture book, huge hugs and lots of laughter. 

 

This family trekked from their village in Myanmar (formerly Burma) through the mountains and jungle to a refugee camp in Thailand before they were eventually were resettled in CT.  They now have the chance to start afresh in a safe environment and for their children to be educated with the support of the Church, Rotary International and a myriad of other supporters.  Heartfelt thank you to Rotary representatives from the Simsbury/Granby Rotary Club (Julie, Dorien and Lynn) but especially to Dr Jerry Graham’s entire team at Avon Wellness Center Dental Associates who volunteered their time and skills but gained so much affection in return.

 

Last year one of the young children had 15 cavities and needed root canal treatment at age 5.  This year the same child had a clean bill of health.  Surely that’s something to smile about!

 

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