Last December we were completely overjoyed when our Smile & Thrive Dental Program was recognised and awarded a grant by the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation. With this partnership we were able to dream big and our goal has been to more than DOUBLE the number of dental treatments we do with vulnerable children, completing 800 appointments by 2024.
So from this place, we have been focusing on building new connections with local schools and reaching more children through our Smile and Thrive Dental Program. We have been able to develop a beautiful partnership with Waratah West Public school and with a new dentist, New Lambton Family Dental Practice.
It has been an absolute joy working with Waratah West Public and their Assistant Principal, Jane Chapman. We now have 51 of their students enrolled in our dental program.
And the kids are loving it, here’s what they’ve had to say about being in the program so far:
“This is so much fun, do we get to come back soon?” - 9 year old Girl.
"I love going to the dentist…This is the best day" - 7 year old boy.
"This is the best day ever! I loved the dentist and the Uno" - 6 year old boy.
“This has been like my favourite day, my teeth are so white” - 7 year old boy,
So far we have had the privilege of supporting these students through 55 of their dental treatments.
The rumor of the value of this program has spread and we have since had another school in Shortland approach us, requesting the dental program in their school as well. We are now in the early stages of discussion with them and a third dentist to see how we can extend our reach into the Jesmond community.
Since working with Waratah West Public School, we have been partnering with a second dentist that is within a closer proximity of this school - New Lambton Family Dental.
It has been an absolute pleasure working with New Lambton Family Dental as they have fully embraced our Smile and Thrive program. We have witnessed the employees of this clinic, from the reception staff to the dentist, go the extra mile to value the children and make them feel special while they are at the dentist.
The employees of this clinic have also shared with our team, what an eye-opening experience participating in the Smile and Thrive program has been. They have expressed their lack of knowledge or awareness before this connection at the level of poverty present in Newcastle, through their treatment of these vulnerable children, who for some have never ever owned a toothbrush.
The expansion of our Smile and Thrive Dental program has allowed us to support and facilitate hundreds of vulnerable children to receive the dental treatment they desperately need. We are so grateful for our partnerships with Merewether Public School, Adamstown Dental surgery, Waratah West Public School, New Lambton Family Dental, Grill’d Kotara and the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation for their support.
We look forward to continuing to grow this program and being able to partner with more schools in the future.