Thirty-eight dental teams commit to service at leadership events.
Smiles are a little bit brighter in parts of the Dominican Republic these days. Thanks to World Mission Partners (WMP) and financial encouragement from Jay Geier and the Scheduling Institute, dental teams from across the country are planning trips to serve people in the poorest neighborhoods through a mobile dental clinic.
As part of their outreach to underserved communities, WMP discovered a great opportunity to partner with Samaritan Hospital in La Romana, Dominican Republic. The hospital currently houses only one dental chair and provides a mobile unit with two chairs to see patients in local Bateyes-sugar cane field worker communities. After his first visit to the hospital, Geier, president and founder of the Scheduling Institute, committed to funding the construction of an additional wing specifically for a six chair practice with one oral surgical operatory. In addition to Geier’s support, Scheduling Institute client and President of Design Ergonomics Dr. David Ahearn has committed to design the space and donate the necessary equipment for it.
The Scheduling Institute has more than 2,100 dental practice clients, so it made sense for Geier to get them on board. Three years ago, he incorporated mission trips into his company’s culture. He now challenges his top-level clients to take their teams to the Dominican Republic and donate their time and expertise to the many people in need.
At two recent Scheduling Institute leadership seminars, Geier offered up $1,000 and $2,000 scholarships for interested clients and their teams to give them a kick start to their fundraising and increase their chances of going.
“I know this will be life-changing for the doctor and his team. They come back from these trips completely changed,” he says. “Sometimes all they need is a head start.”
Thirty-eight teams took advantage of the scholarships, committing to serve in The Dominican Republic or Costa Rica in 2017 and 2018.
In 2014, Geier teamed up with Costa Rica Mission Partners, a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Ed and Patti Pease, that led dental teams to one of the poorest communities in Central America to serve its people. Following 16 trips to Costa Rica in 2016, the Costa Rican government created significant road blocks for the doctors, so Geier and Pease set out to find another option. The Dominican Republic was identified as a good place, so CRMP evolved to World Mission Partners.
In just the first two months since expansion to the Dominican Republic, there have been five teams who have served 542 patients in 20 days. The impact of their service spreads beyond those patients.
“When you do generous things, people are so touched and appreciative that it becomes positively addictive,” Geier notes. “This is a great opportunity for my clients and team to get on board, give and really see the good their time and money is doing. There is such a tremendous need.”
Scheduling Institute employees also began a hat drive to further support the efforts of their clients and protect the people in the Dominican Republic from excessive sun exposure. The goal was to get 500 hats in three weeks. Team members put a call out on social media and 661 hats came in to Alpharetta, Georgia, from all over the country including, New York, North Carolina and Ohio.
“It’s confirmation that people want to help, they want to make an impact on others in whatever way possible – and it doesn’t always have to be financially,” says Andrea Lansford, a Scheduling Institute team leader and organizer of the drive.