Overwhelming response to 1000 smiles project

An overwhelming response has been reported to one of the biggest dental programmes in Saint Lucia’s history, sponsored by Sandals Foundation and Great Shape Incorporated.

People from all walks of life converged on the Marchand Combined School from as early as 4.am on Monday, for a place in the second 1000 Smiles programme.

Last year the initiative, which is done in partnership with the Ministry of Health, reached some 500 people in the north and south of the island.

This year the number of volunteers from the United States, Canada, Jamaica and elsewhere taking part in the programme to offer free dental services to Saint Lucians has tripled to more than sixty.

The first clinic which started yesterday at the Marchand Combined School will sun until July 29 from 8:00 am each day.

Two other clinics will be made available in the communities of Anse La Raye and Canaries during the week of August 1-5.

Because of the response to the clinics, organizers are urging Saint Lucians to register early.

Joseph Wright, Executive Director of Great Shape Incorporated which has partnered with the Sandals Foundation in offering the free dental services, explained that the organization is a non-profit one in the United States.

joseph-wrightWright told the Times the 28-year old organization has been working in Jamaica providing education and health care for people in need.

He said for the past fourteen years Great Shape has been partnering with the Sandals Foundation, with Sandals Resorts sponsoring the volunteers who stay for free at Sandals hotels.

He explained that the growth in volunteers for the dental  programme’s second year in Saint Lucia was due to a number of factors, including people who have participated spreading the word about Saint Lucia.

“Suddenly people say ‘I can do that – I want to do that too’ and so before you know it you have a lot of people; next year we may have to turn people away because we will not have enough room for all the volunteers,’ Wright asserted.