Connections by Sandals: Smiles times 1000

Ask any adult, preferably one who sporadically visits the dentist about the cost of maintaining a healthy and happy smile and you will be left speechless at the answer. It’s no secret that dental work especially on patients who have neglected their teeth could cost thousands of dollars and a bill that sadly most people can’t afford. Luckily, through the partnership of Great Shape Inc. and Sandals Foundation, SaintLuciansisland-wide have been benefitting from their 1000 Smiles initiative.

Humanitarians and co-founder of Great Shape Inc.’s 1000 Smiles project Dr. Sherwin Shinn DDS and Great Shape’s Executive Director Joseph Wright are on island with their team of volunteers to ensure that Saint Lucia, especially the nation’s youth are able to continue lighting up rooms they enter with bright, big smiles.

It takes someone with a tremendous amount of love and appreciation for life to complete a strenuous project and not expect some form of monetary reward for the time in which they invested. The second pleasantries were exchanged and the interview started, the joys and pleasures of assisting in changing the lives of their patients around the world shone proudly on the face of Dr. Shinn or Doc as he is affectionally referred to by his peers – for the Doc who remembers handing out toothbrushes to schools and teaching the children and teachers the importance of brushing and oral care, before moving into training dental assistants and opening clinics.

As he travelled and experienced new cultures his aim is for sustainable programmesto be developed and individuals educated well enough so that they in turn take can care of themselves and their own continues to be his mantra. Even outside of the world of dentistry his, humanitarianism knows no bounds as he once helped raise funds for a young boy he  met in Bolivia who was in dire need of spinal surgery. A meaningful act of going to schools in the U.S asking and eventually receiving support for the young boy became a media hot bed.

It was such selflessness that afforded him a meeting with Joseph after he heard Doc on a radio programme being interviewed about his dentistry outreach which then led to the two forming Thousand Smiles. The 1000 Smiles project whose primary focus is, teeth, has enabled many young persons to benefit from being a volunteer with the group. Success stories of young person’s finding their footing in dentistry speaks volumes of the group’s impact on everyday life.

The partnership with Sandals Foundation, one according to Joseph is very unique in the corporate world as he is yet to identify such a coalition that Great Shape Inc. and Sandals Foundation enjoy. He informed us that in the last fourteen years alone with the assistance of Sandals Foundation they have been able to assist over one hundred fifty thousand people. He lamented that the success of the programme lies specifically on the backbone of Sandals who has handled the media, given logistical support, room and board, and transportation, just to name a few.

You can receive further information on the work done by Great Shape Inc. and the 1000 Smiles Project by visiting their website greatshape.org and also learn more about the Sandals Foundation by visiting their website http://www.sandalsfoundation.org/.

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