We had recently returned from a dental volunteer trip to Ecuador with the Kindness in Action organization. While there, we provided dental treatment and care for 6 days, in various indigenous communities. These people did not have the means to travel to see a dentist, and certainly did not have the personal funds to pay for treatment. This trip deeply inspired us to provide a local component to our volunteerism.
Upon returning to Canada, we decided we would like to arrange a similar trip for the B.C coastal communities. We recognize that many of the same struggles with access to professional dental care, access to good nutrition and oral health education may exist for many isolated communities right here in our own province. With volunteer dental personnel from all over Canada, we hope to bring much needed dental services to these communities in addition to having the valuable experiences of one of the treasured parts of B.C.’s coast.
We contacted the executive director of Esperanza Ministries , Dean Johnson who graciously agreed to host us for a small pilot project into this area to discover the possibilities for a larger volunteer project through Share a Smile. Everyone at Esperanza was extremely helpful to arrange meetings with some of the leaders from the surrounding communities and a big thank you goes out to Jessica Boy who attended all of our meetings and was our tour guide during the trip.
While at Esperanza, we did perform some dental hygiene services and education to the families living in this pristine part of Vancouver Island. All of the children were very interested and helpful and learned many things about good dental care and nutrition.
We are in the process of registering the society with Revenue Canada as a charitable organization and hope to then be able to secure some grants or federal funding but will also continue to do alternate fundraising to support this great cause. We hope to arrange for a small group to return to Esperanza in the fall and then yearly trips with larger groups for 2012.
We hope you enjoy our photos and video clip.