Sometimes I have an opportunity to watch something really amazing.
I saw over one hundred volunteers work together to Give Kids A Smile…
107 kids to be exact.
Hundreds of hours were put in before the day even began. Scheduling the facility, generous donations, organizing & planning for mobile X-ray equipment, dental instruments, dentists, dental professionals, volunteers to escort the children – I could go on.
I had the opportunity to document the day. What I saw was incredible.
As a photographer, every place I looked was a photo opportunity – honestly, the lighting inside a gymnasium isn’t the best for photographs…but what I did see was a lot of kindness, a little nervousness and some fairly big smiles. As a mother, I saw kids getting a better chance. Some children had never seen a dentist for one reason or another. Some were here from countries where an annual visit to a dentist isn’t heard of. Some were local with out the privilege of dental insurance. The chance to be pulled up thru the cracks in society where a smile can be so valuable.
With a friendly face at check-in, a volunteer escorted each child to the mobile x-ray station where dental professionals waited to triage each patient based on the initial exam. Next stop: the tooth brushing arena. Education and hands-on brushing with some laughter on the side. The kids had to walk past the party area – a treat when their dental work is complete. A local entertainer showed off his juggling skills, a librarian read stories to younger children, and Miss Wisconsin & Miss Wisconsin Teen arrived & anxiety went away!
Dentists, hygienists, a variety of health professionals & administrators worked magic (and dental procedures, of course) on over one hundred kids that day. It was hard to capture with my camera what I felt in my heart. A kid knows when his or her smile doesn’t look or smell good. They know when there’s pain and might be afraid to tell someone. I saw hesitation then courage when getting into the chair and I also saw kindness and human kindness – a gloved hand reaching out to a clenched fist and holding the hand, I saw a gentle pat on a shoulder, ‘you’re doing great’.
Incredibly heart-warming when a kid was finished and flashed a genuine smile (sometimes still numb) feeling good about themselves.
Wendy, love these photos and your words that accompany them. As a hygienist I have participated in outreach programs like this , and your synopsis really captured the emotions of the day. Healthy smiles mean so much, I’m glad you shared this with us!
Thank you Jeanne!
It was beautiful to see all the good unfold as the day progressed!