Posted on September 6, 2019.
In March 2019, Jennifer Swaney – a Delta Dental of California employee – spent time volunteering at a dental clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal. Swaney worked alongside Global Dental Relief (GDR), a Colorado based non-profit, to bring free dental care to children in need.
“I had no idea what I was getting into traveling half way across the globe by myself, but I am so glad I did it! The experience was nothing short of amazing,” said Jennifer, reflecting on her time spent volunteering in the dental clinic.
Volunteers do not need any dental experience to volunteer with GDR. In the clinic, Jennifer worked as a general volunteer. She spent six days assisting licensed dentists, teaching oral health education, and easing the anxiety of incoming patients.
GDR teams treat children without access to care. In many cases these kids have never seen a dentist. Over the course of one week, Jennifer and her team provided 795 children with free, comprehensive dental care. Not only did they restore children’s teeth, but they restored their hope for living a healthy life – one smile at a time.
Since their start in 2001, Global Dental Relief has expanded into five countries, hosting thirty dental clinics annually. GDR works with diverse groups of volunteers to bring free dental care to thousands of children each year.
Each team consists of five dentists, two hygienists and roughly 10 general volunteers. GDR works with volunteers from varying professions and backgrounds to provide restorative and preventive care to children in need around the world. You don’t have to be a dentist to volunteer!
“It was 7:45am and we were getting ready for our second day of clinic. I was sitting in the clinic overcome with emotion. When people say ‘a mission will change your life, you’ll never be the same,’ it is true! I am so fortunate to have this opportunity, and I am so glad I decided to go out on a limb and sign up for this trip … my heart is so full, and I can’t wait to do this again!” – Jennifer Swaney
With the “Smiling it Forward” program, eligible Delta Dental of California employees receive sixteen hours of paid time off each year to volunteer with a qualifying charity of their choice. When they donate to a qualifying charity, Delta Dental will match donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $1,000 yearly.
Like Jennifer, YOU could take advantage of the “Smiling it Forward” program to help bring free dental care to children in Nepal, or any of the locations where GDR works.
Before returning home, Jennifer spent five days on the Everest Trail, trekking through the snow covered Himalayas. Together with her team they hiked to Khumjung, a small rural village hidden in one of the many Himalayan Valleys.
If you’ve been wanting to take the trip of a lifetime, contact Global Dental Relief today! Take the leap. Join GDR in helping brighten the world one smile at time.