Give Kids a Smile Day (GKAS) is the nation’s largest proactive approach to help children from low income families with their dental needs, and to draw attention to the problem that many families face when trying to access basic dental care. GKAS takes place in every state, and Colorado is fortunate to boast one of the nation’s success stories for this program.
Give Kids a Smile Day is the first Friday of February!
Register for Give Kids a Smile Day on the ADA’s Website linked here. If you are interested in volunteering at the CU School of Dental Medicine, please contact Molly Pereira at email@example.com or 303-996-2844.
Volunteers, CLICK HERE to download useful forms and activity sheets.
There are many options for participation in GKAS:
Planning Step #1: Mark Your Calendar and Brainstorm Ideas
If you haven’t marked the GKAS date on your patient schedule, don’t let another day slip by! Regardless of your activity, whether in the office or off site, marking down the date not only serves as a reminder, but also tells your staff not to schedule the normal patient load that day. Next, think about the type of GKAS activity you’d like to participate in: treating patients in your office, treating patients offsite at a nearby clinic, going to schools to give presentations, etc. Consider all your options and select activities that best suit you and your dental practice. If your activity involves more than just your participation as a dentist, organize a staff meeting, and brainstorm ideas and goals for the event:
- How will we schedule patients that day?
- How many patients should we schedule?
- Will the patients be pre-identified or will we have a first-come, first-served event?
- What hours am I/are we available that day?
- Where should we recruit deserving patients? Does anyone have connections to a local school or church? Do we have any current patients who work for organizations that help low-income families?
- Do we have bilingual capability in the office or do we know someone who could help if need be?
- What schools or community centers nearby would be interested in an oral health presentation?
Planning Step #2: Solidify Your Plans
Time to start solidifying your plans.
If you are visiting schools or community centers to give educational presentations, start contacting teachers and program coordinators to offer your services and to set-up a class/group presentation. It is important to contact schools before the end of the year (winter break) so teachers can include you in their future lesson plans. The CDA has many educational resources including lesson plans and activity sheets available to download and reproduce.
If you are treating patients in your private office, begin contacting Boys and Girls Clubs, United Way, Head Start programs, school nurses and/or church organizations to recruit patients. These programs will be able to locate children without insurance from low-income families who could use your generous services. Explain to your contact how many children you’re able to treat and the details of your event. Make sure that they know that GKAS is a Friday event, so they can work with their families regarding transportation, etc. December is also a good time to think about the option of providing patient goody bags, waiting room entertainment/activity sheets/toys, etc.
One-month countdown! Now is the time to secure all of your plans for patients and presentations. Click here for scheduling tips! If you’re seeing patients in your office, schedule your patients at this time and don’t forget to obtain a good contact number to confirm their appointments at least once. Events of this nature unfortunately produce a “no-show” factor due to transportation problems, time away from jobs and other unanticipated issues. For this reason, consider booking a few extra patients or even double-booking patients for your event. While this could result in a very busy day, it will more likely result in a day of great success, and fulfilled patients and dental staff members.
Give Kids a Smile Day is the first Friday of February. Approach your day with a little added flexibility. You’ll be providing a wonderful service to the children you help through this program.
Thank you in advance for being a part of this charity program and awareness effort that truly gives Colorado kids something to smile about. If you have any questions or need any help planning your GKAS day, please contact the CDA at 303-996-2844 or firstname.lastname@example.org.