GKAS Super Clinic
Posted by Paul on 10/26/2012 9:47:00 AM
Wow, what a day! I had my first taste of a Give Kids A Smile clinic in St Louis. This is a great example of a local vision to help children coming to fruition but it's so much more than that. Now starting it's 11th year, GKAS is a model replicated around the country. Dr. Jeffrey Dalin works at the ADA level to help shape the GKAS strategy. He's stirring up all sorts of partnerships and funding streams that will help spread the word, educate children about oral health, and provide needed treatment to kids. I had the privilege of volunteering in Triage with Dr. Dalin and his enthusiasm and passion for GKAS is contagious!
One of the partnerships that makes sense is the GKAS Institute and Ambassador program. Using scholarship money provided by the ADA, several ambassadors came to St Louis for a first hand look at the national model for GKAS. They met with the board and staff and had a chance to learn the ins and outs of a successfully coordinated clinic.
I can testify to the smooth success of the clinic. It's just not a logistical victory, it's a wonderland for children. From the moment the kids get off the bus, the atmosphere is festive. From registration to the after party, kids were entertained and captivated by sights and sounds. There was a great volunteer army in purple shirts and a wave of volunteer dentists in orange shirts. I was glad to be a part of it and share in the joy of serving children.
If you are in St Louis, I know you've been recruited but I will recruit you again. They have clinics twice a year so certainly you can attend one. If you are outside St Louis and have interest in how the clinic might work in your area, I'd encourage you to contact Joan Allen, executive director or Dr. Thomas Flavin, board president.
As for the photos, that's Dr. Dalin with the Tooth Fairy and a patient. Then you can see the full line at patient sign in. Then there's a shot of "my team". These were all area hygiene students who escorted kids from Triage to treatment. These lovely young ladies were quick learners and brought a lot of energy and personality to the kids making the day even more fun. I was impressed with the great volume of hygiene students and general volunteers at the event. Kudos to all involved in giving so many kids a smile!
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