Help Keys kids smile bigger: get mobile dental clinic throughout funding finish line


For additional than a year, the Waypoint Foundation of Vital Largo has been singularly focused on procuring a cellular dental clinic for the Florida Keys. 

The effort, dubbed the “Mobile SmileMaker initiative,” obtained a huge increase in April 2020 when the Ocean Reef Group Basis (ORCF) awarded Waypoint a $50,000 matching grant. Much more a short while ago, two grants have brought the work even nearer to the complete line: Baptist Well being South Florida granted Waypoint an supplemental $25,000, and the PHS Commissioned Officers Basis gave $8,500. Now, they’re inquiring for a person remaining press to comprehensive their mission.

Clarice Yentsch speaks at the opening ceremony for an show on tooth wellness and the cellular dental clinic that ran at Key Largo Library in Feb. 2020. CONTRIBUTED

“It’s so interesting for us to be so near to our target! It was thrilling to get the aid from Baptist South Florida Basis, Commissioned Officers and ORCF, which exhibits how significantly support we have gotten in the group,” claimed Christine Golia, Waypoint Basis president. “It’s also so gratifying to be operating with a group of compassionate, involved volunteers who want to make a change for underserved little ones.”

The SmileMaker Initiative is spurred on via the efforts of Golia, who serves as the local community focal point for the foundation Wally Smith, the visionary dentist with mobile clinic know-how and Clarice Yentsch, the driving drive and glue at the rear of it all.

The cellular clinic will have 2 operatory chairs and up-to-date technological know-how. CONTRIBUTED

A cell dental clinic is very similar to a blood-donation-cell, Smith explained, with the bus and dental care practitioners touring to educational institutions to supply large good quality, cost-free dental care to young children in Monroe County. In this way, they are equipped to give services to youths who never have accessibility to complete dental treatment.

Waypoint has its sights established on a applied, two-chair cell unit to be refurbished and up to date. This clinic-on-wheels will be operate by Florida Keys Place Health and fitness Instruction Centre Inc. (AHEC), the current company of the local dental sealant software.

Via their endeavours, and together with the most modern donations, they’ve elevated a whopping $94,705 out of their original $125,000 objective. That variety was Smith’s initial estimate for how much a cellular clinic could possibly price to procure and renovate. Now, he thinks the figure may be nearer to $150,000 – $165,000.

“Covid certainly complex fundraising,” Yentsch claimed. “We held our breath that (our initiative) could outlive the challenge of Covid. Obviously priorities had been reset by everybody.”

All 3 emphasised how funding initiatives for the duration of an economic downturn may well look counterintuitive, but that now is essentially when the essential pediatric dental companies provided by a cell unit will be most desired. 

“When households are struggling with an financial downturn, their need to have for guidance with matters like dental care for little ones increases. Improves markedly,” Yentsch advised the Keys Weekly.

Golia agreed, saying, “The financial downturn results in additional struggles for households who are already battling. It’s much more vital than ever for the neighborhood to assist them, (and) specifically the children….”

A mobile clinic would also be easier to sanitize to new COVID-19 specifications than an open office and would get rid of the want for travel to dental offices and mother and father having to just take time off work to provide children in, Yentsch and Golia mentioned.

Smith has his eye out for a ideal unit but famous that Waypoint must very first “close the gap” among current funding assets and what is demanded to purchase a vehicle in advance of he can take the subsequent step. He even now wishes the unit to be completely ready for the begin of the 2021-22 school 12 months. 

Yentsch admitted that COVID had still left her disheartened and unhappy, thinking if “perhaps (their) dream was a fantasy far too.” The newest inflow of grants and funds still left her emotion “re-energized” that the SmileMaker Initiative could come to fruition.

“The good news is that we are now back again on monitor and the end line is in sight,” she concluded. “The subsequent significant hurdle is to come down the finish line … to full the fundraising, locate and buy a acceptable utilised double operatory (mobile dental clinic) and transfer … the device and procedure to AHEC.”

Much more details is at

A SmileMaker Exhibition Catalog / Booklet was developed and printed in March 2020. CONTRIBUTED