Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dear friends,

I was in Seattle most of last week for my sister's wedding. To be honest, I needed the vacation!

When I left Cedar Rapids, I was so frustrated with our dental component - not the staff or volunteers, but specifically the extremely high no-show rate. In one week, every single dental clinic had at least one, if not two, patients simply not show up for their appointments. They all get reminder postcards, are required to confirm, and even receive reminder phone calls the day before - and then sometimes simply don't come. It's so frustrating to have a volunteer dental crew ready to help and sitting around doing nothing. There are so many people just waiting to be called.

Anyway, last week, I was ready to pack it in!

But when I got back to the office today, Michelle pulled me aside to show me before and after pictures of a few of our patients. "Look at these!" she said. "These patients can smile now." And as I looked at their new smiles, I realized that for THESE people we have made a big difference. Yes, every dental patient should show up for their scheduled appointment, but in the end lives are still being changed. And that's what counts.

Here is a before/after picture that just blows my socks off. This patient has a new upper partial denture; he'll get a lower denture in a few weeks. Can't you just imagine how much his life will be changed, simply by having a set of good-looking teeth?

And after!
In our line of work, it's important to focus on every success. That's something that can be easy to forget about in the day-to-day grind. But this patient - and many more like him - is a great success! Praise God for all the talented volunteers who make this possible, and the donors who fund it.

Thanks, and be well.

Sharon Patten
Executive Director