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News & Updates about Donate A Smile

2013 Review


DONATE A SMILE YEAR END REPORT: 2013

 

With the moneys received from its supporting churches, individual contributions, speaking engagements, and grant applications, dental supplies and dental instruments were purchased. These items included local anesthetic, aspirating syringes, needles, latex gloves, gauze, composite filling material, amalgam filling material, an amalgam shaker, dycal, copolite, cavit, endodontic k-files, root canal sealer, gutta percha, surgicel, Alginate, polishing paste, high speed cavity burs, and infection control/disinfecting supplies, instrument sterilization equipment, 2 dental chairs, dental drills, and a dental delivery (ADEC) unit.

 

The original plan was to use these supplies to outfit our dental clinic in Bangui, Central African Republic, to open a second clinic in another town (Berberati), and to conduct a fact finding and emergency dental care mission in a third town (Bossembele). Unfortunately, violent and ongoing insurrection enveloped that country, which prevented our working there. We determined, after consulting with local operatives, that to do so would place our personnel at significant risk of harm, and would create a likelihood that our supplies would end up on the black market.

 

Instead, we used our resources to travel to Bitkine in central Chad, where we assisted the dental relief group mPower in training a group of eight Chadian basic-healthcare nurses in the delivery of emergency dental surgery (extractions, wound care, treatment of infections, and infection control/sterilization protocols). We opened dental clinics in four Chadian villages which had no prior access to dental care. These new Dental Care providers are Christians who are using their newly acquired skills to help their own communities and promote the love of Christ and Truth of the Gospel in a region of Chad in which less than 1% of the population are Christian.

 

In addition, we partnered with Monze Mission Hospital in Southern Province, Zambia to open an expanded service dental clinic (offering extractions, fillings, and materials for the ART filling technique (which can be accomplished without access to electricity or plumbing) in remote locations of the province), which became the most complete dental clinic available for 200,000 Zambians living in poverty in rural areas of their country.

 

Our activities also included partnering with the relief group Nehemiah Vision Ministries to outfit and open a relief dental clinic in Haiti, which will be operated on an ongoing basis by one of their organization's operatives who is a dentist from the United States.

 

Finally, Donate A Smile completed the distribution of the supplies purchased above by giving dental anesthetic to a network of community dental clinics which offer discount dental care to the poor of mid-Michigan, here in the US.

 

In total, during 2013 Donate A Smile succeeded in opening six evangelistic dental clinics in three third-world areas which have been tragically under served by dentistry, and assisted in the delivery of dental care to the poor of Mid-Michigan, USA.

 

Donate A Smile wishes to express its gratitude to the many individual contributors, churches, The Bronner Family Charitable Foundation, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy Foundation for the privilege of partnering with them in accomplishing our goals of serving the poor by making dental care accessible to them, and by sharing with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our financial report appears below.

 

To God be the glory,

Dr. Rick Skowronski

 

Summer Update 2013


Donate A Smile's planned dental relief trip to Central African Republic (CAR) in April was postponed once again, because of continued violence, unrest, and instability in that country. Our officers and partners are keeping a close watch on the situation there, in hopes that we will be able to return in September or October to provide relief from dental suffering and outfit our clinic in the capital city (Bangui). Travel between villages within CAR remains very risky, but there is much good we can do for the 700,000 people living in Bangui.

Meanwhile, Donate A Smile partnered with mPower Approach, a Kentucky based  dental relief organization, and traveled to central Chad in June. Together with Linda Webster, Dr. Bobby Alston and his wife, Donna, and Dr. Wayne Lose, the team trained eight Chadian nationals in dental anatomy and pathology, dental pharmacology, infection control, sterilization protocols, delivery of dental anesthesia, and dental extraction procedures. The students learned well and safely removed 150 teeth on 130 patients during the clinical portion of the training, under the supervision of the dentists. All necessary equipment and supplies were given the students to open an emergency care dental clinic in their home villages. As a result, four Chadian villages now have a dental clinic, each operated by  a pair of trained national workers, using sustainable methods.

Also, Donate A Smile is in the process of opening another new dental clinic, as part of the Monze Mission Hospital in Zambia, a regional facility which serves 200,000 people but previously had no dental clinic.

Check out the Photo Gallery of our website for pictures of the Chad trip. We remain committed to bringing dental care to some of the most under served areas on earth, as our resources allow.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

2013 Brings Ambitious Plans and Much Uncertainty


Thanks to many individual contributions, the faithful support of four church congregations, and a generous year end grant of $10,000 by the prestigious Pierre Fauchard Academy, Donate A Smile was well positioned to embrace an exciting and ambitious plan of dental relief, affecting some of the neediest people in the world, in Central Africa.

The plan included supplying our clinic in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR) for 2013 (the clinic helped nearly 5,000 people last year!), establishing a new clinic in a town located a challenging 15 hours through the Central African wilderness from our first clinic, training 2-3 new dental workers, providing care  in a number of remote villages that have no access to dental care, and introducing three American dental professionals to the rigors and joys of third world dentistry.

Unfortunately, December 2012 brought armed insurrection across CAR because of alleged injustices by the government of that country. This caused the evacuation of American personnel, including the American Ambassador, and cancelled our proposed January 2013 trip. Every day life has become very difficult for our friends in country, with food and other necessities of life in critical supply, threat of violence a daily hazard, and more than 100,000 people of all ages forced to live precariously in the harsh Central African wilderness, unprotected.

Thankfully, involvement by the international community is slowly returning daily life to its impoverished but somewhat stable routine, and Donate A Smile plans to return to Bangui in April to assess the condition of its clinic and workers, bring needed supplies, provide some training, and perhaps bring dental care to one remote village, though travel in country is still speculative, at this point.

Meanwhile, discussions are being held with a mission hospital in Zambia toward the possibility of establishing a dental clinic there which will provide access to safe dental care to 200,000 people in the region. Dr. Rick is also planning a dental training mission to Chad in June with a similar NGO called mPower. Dr. Rick hopes that their training methods will also work well in CAR in the future. Two further trips to CAR are tentatively planned for late 2013 or early 2014, pending the outcome of April's trip, and the politico-social development of events there during the year.  

April 2012 Dental Relief Trip

Our latest dental relief trip to the Central African Republic was a huge success! Thanks to generous contributions  from people and organizations around the world, we were able to deliver enough dental supplies to the BenzVi Dental Clinic in Bangui to enable them to continue operating for the rest of this year. We also met with local leaders to discuss how our nonprofit can effectively expand its work in their country, help train more national dental workers, and help even more people. Finally, we went "on the road", providing essential dental care in two villages which have never before had a dentist visit them. (People there were very excited.) Providing safe, quality dental care in places that are without electricity or running water is very challenging. What we learned and achieved through careful planning and hard work paves the way to relieve the suffering of thousands who live in villages which have been previously beyond reach. Stories of the trip can be found on the Donate A Smile Facebook page, and the latest photos will appear on this website.

Calling All Dentists!


Donate A Smile maintains a (mostly) modern dental clinic in the capital city of Bangui, Central African Republic that provides help and hope to 5,000 patients a year. We have the ability to do fillings, extractions, simple partials, teeth cleanings, digital X-rays, we can even do root canals! We'd love to have some dentists come out and help us help some very needy people in a country that has only has four dental clinics. We stay in a nice facility that has showers, beds, mosquito netting, etc., and we also (depending on the trip) travel to outlying villages, where camping is more rustic, to provide medicines and care to people who cannot get to our clinic in Bangui.
    
We are recruiting dentists for teams in 2013 and beyond. 

Next year we will be continuing to supply our existing clinic, plus we will be opening a new dental clinic in another city (Berberati - 12 hours from Bangui), and we will be doing another remote dental trip to yet another city which is completely unserved by dentistry, which will involve some rustic camping.

Our work in central Africa partners with an excellent and experienced medical group, Three Strands, whose members  have worked in that region for decades. Together, we make several trips every year and can make your experience with us a good one. Please visit their website at three-strands.org to learn more about them. Our founder, Dr. Rick Skowronski, is the dental team leader for their organization.

To learn more about how you can plug in and have the time of your life relieving the suffering of others, contact us through this web site or our Facebook page, or contact three-strands.org.
      

Keepin' it real, making it now

Dentistry is hard without anesthetic!


Donate A Smile is actively working to empower one of the very few dental clinics in Bangui, Central African Republic to be able to provide relief from dental suffering. This month, we will be acquiring supplies to send to the clinic which we help operate, but we're short just $400.00 of making that supply run, and this window of opportunity will close in about three weeks!  Click on "Donate" on this website to make a secure donation through Paypal, and help us help thousands!

March Update


During the last month, Donate A Smile has been hard at work! We've promoted the charity to a group of dental professionals in mid Michigan and also to the good people of Koerner Heights Church in Newton, Kansas. As a result, the financial need we had to help us deliver the dental supplies we talked about in the February Update has been met! Unfortunately, logistical problems have postponed delivery of the trunks, but we hope to have them on the field in April.

We are also actively working with a grant writer to craft a proposal and seek out opportunities for funding.

Finally, we are very excited to announce that we have registered with the internet search engine, Goodsearch. Anybody wishing to help out our organization can go to goodsearch.com and type donate a smile under the question, "Who do you goodsearch for?" Then click the "verify" button. After that, every time you search the net, goodsearch makes a contribution to Donate A Smile, and it's free! Check it out!

Additional speaking engagements are coming up in April and May, and we're looking for more. Contact us if you'd like to have Dr. Rick speak to your group. Meanwhile, check back here soon or see our facebook page for more exciting news about donate a smile!

Fall 2011 Update


GREAT NEWS!! Donate A Smile has been selected by Henry Schein Inc. (the world's largest provider of oral healthcare supplies to office-based dental professionals) to receive between $5,000 and $25,000 worth of dental supplies over the next two years. Their program, Henry Schein Cares, exists to help dentists improve access to dental care in dramatically underserved areas, like Central African Republic where there are only six dentists for five million people. Donate A Smile is very grateful and excited that Henry Schein will be helping us to provide essential dental care to some of the most disadvantaged people on Earth.

Meanwhile, the delivery of 1,200 toothbrushes and 1,200 tubes of toothpaste (Special thanks to a generous donation by Proctor and Gamble, who provided the Crest toothpaste) to orphans in Bangui, Central African Republic concludes our field efforts for 2011. The rest of the year will be spent Stateside, fundraising toward our ambitious goals for 2012 and beyond. Look for more on that in our next update!

February Update


Senguila mingui (many thanks) to everyone who has made contributions so that Donate A Smile can help relieve people's suffering in Central African Republic! Many individuals have made donations which covered shipping costs and allowed us to purchase needed dental supplies, and special thanks goes out to Sybronendo, a manufacturer of dental materials who donated some of the supplies which will be going out in March.

As you've seen from our banner, we are still raising funds for the generator project, but we are more than half way toward our goal! We still need to raise $1,500 but meanwhile, we will be making March's supply shipment, traveling the upper midwest speaking on behalf of the charity, and planning a relief trip to Bangui for early August. Thanks again to all who have helped so far, and please continue to get the word out. There's so much more we can do!

Your Gifts Help Hundreds!

Generator dream becomes reality


Great news! In November of 2010 Donate A Smile became aware that one of only three dental clinics in the whole country of Central African Republic had difficulty helping anyone because of frequent city wide power outages. "If only we had a generator." they told us, but buying and installing a generator that could run the clinic was hopelessly expensive for them. Now, thanks to generous contributions from many of you and the efforts of our friends on the field, the generator is up and running, just four months later! The workers at the BenzVi dental clinic are thrilled and grateful for the opportunities this will bring to provide dental care to suffering people, and Donate A Smile was very excited to play a roll in making it happen. Thank you everyone, and look for more news to come! 

June Update


Donate A Smile has been very busy in the last two months as we prepare for our 8th speaking engagement (on June 23rd). We've met some wonderful people, from the retirees at the Vassar public library to the good folks of Grace Covenant Church in Nacogdoches, Texas! We had a great time promoting our efforts at the Michigan Dental Association Annual Session, where we made some excellent new contacts, like Donna Edwards and her crew at Dental Health Products, Inc., who are helping us acquire some donated dental supplies. We're glad you're with us, Donna!

At the end of May we submitted our first grant proposal to the Pierre Fauchard Academy Foundation (one of the world's most prestigious dental organizations) as part of our efforts to line up funds for 2012, and in early June we received a very generous contribution: Special thanks go out to the MyRay division of Cefla Dental, who gave us an enormous discount on a hand held, cordless, portable digital x-ray sensor/ viewer (pictured here). This device will enable us to view crystal clear dental x-rays as never before. Dentistry in central Africa has just become safer, more effective, and more available, and we could never have done it without the amazing generosity of the kind folks at Myray!

Moving forward, our next relief trip to Bangui, Central African republic is fast approaching (August 2-12 of this year) and there's much to do. We hope to bring several months worth of dental supplies to the clinics as well as several new pieces of equipment (like the X-Pod digital x-ray). We'll also be teaching new techniques, visiting orphans, providing dental care, meeting with national leaders about the future of the program, and much more! You can follow the day to day prep of our team by visiting our facebook page.   

August Update


This month Donate A Smile traveled to the Central African Republic with over $23,000 worth of dental supplies and equipment, with special thanks to Dental Health Products Inc, MyRay, and many generous individual donors. We performed many difficult surgeries, provided enough supplies to keep our clinic running for the next 5-6 months, and taught continuing education classes to the dental workers. 
               
Please visit our Facebook page for photos and more detailed stories about the trip.
                 
We also attended strategic meetings aimed at constructing a modern surgical/dental complex, which may break ground later this year! Once completed, teams of American healthcare professionals will work alongside trained National healthcare workers providing dental and medical care to the poor.
                         
We also visited a village called Sakpa, where nearly 10,000 people live without electricity, running water, or dental care. We were told that no dentist has ever visited them, and that there is much suffering from dental problems. We did consultations there to get some idea of what kind of tooth problems people had, and gave out over 100 toothbrushes, mostly to orphans in the community. Now that we are back in the States, we are building a strategy to return to that town and bring dental relief with specialized equipment.

Relief Trip Nov. 2010

Our most recent trip in November of 2010 brought trunks of dental supplies to the BenzVi Dental Clinic in Bangui, including local anesthetic, cotton gauze, sterile syringe needles, protective eye wear, filling materials, etc.

We also worked alongside our colleagues, performing dental surgery. The supplies we gave will only last a couple of months, so we are eager to raise enough funds to purchase some more and send them out! Every day we wait is another day that people suffer.
 
To see pictures of our trip, click here.