February 12, 2015

Volunteer dentists provide free care to thousands of children at Mercy Medical Center

Volunteer dentists from Stark County, Ohio, provided free dental care to children in need February 6 at the Give Kids a Smile Ohio kick-off event held at Mercy Medical Center.

The event, held on Give Kids a Smile Day, was the official launch of the Ohio Dental Association’s 13th annual Give Kids a Smile program. Through the Give Kids a Smile program, created by the American Dental Association, dentists and dental professionals across the state and nation volunteer their time throughout the year to provide screenings, treatment and oral health education to children. 

At this year’s Ohio kick-off event, volunteer dentists saw third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students, providing dental exams and oral hygiene instruction. The Colgate Bright Smiles Bright Futures mobile van was also on site to provide screenings.

“Since I first volunteered in dental school, Give Kids a Smile has always been one of my favorite volunteer events,” said Dr. George Williams, a resident in the Mercy General Practice Dental Residency Program. “There is something about the day that always rekindles the spark of why I chose to pursue a career in dentistry. I wanted a career dedicated to service, leadership in the community and one that could influence and change lives. Give Kids a Smile is the unique experience where we serve the underserved, be the leaders of our communities and be the mentor every child deserves.”

Kristin Byrne, TV reporter/anchor with WEWS NewsChannel 5 in Cleveland, emceed the event, and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Superintendent of Canton City Schools Adrian Allison, Canton City Health Commissioner Jim Adams and ODA President Dr. Thomas Paumier spoke at the event. 

The U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Ohio House of Representatives, Ohio Senate and Canton city mayor all presented proclamations and commendations.

In addition to the event at Mercy Medical Center, volunteers with the Stark County Dental Society visited 12 Canton City Elementary Schools to provide free dental care. Nearly $100,000 in free dental care was donated through the Stark County Dental Society’s initiatives on Give Kids a Smile kick-off day.

Across Ohio, local dental societies and individual dental offices held Give Kids a Smile events on the kick-off day and will hold events throughout the year. For 2015, about 1,600 volunteers are expected to provide nearly $800,000 in care to about 19,000 children in need in Ohio.

The Repository ran an article about the event at Mercy, which can be seen here. Mercy Medical Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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