College Park, Ga. – Team Smile, a Kansas City-based advocacy group that partners oral health professionals with professional athletic organizations and CareSource, a national public healthcare provider, teamed up to help provide kids with a chance to smile, literally, this holiday season.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, dozens of kids from three local schools saw dentist, some for the first time in years, inside Gateway Center Arena, home of the first place College Park Skyhawks.
Children from the area were provided dental care from professionals that volunteered their time to the effort. Professionals like Dr. Ida Rose, a pediatric dentist in Lithia Springs that came to College Park to help. “I volunteer because I feel like it’s a calling,” she said between working with patients. “I believe we are all called to serve and this is how I give back.”
Rose said she had already seen several patients that revealed they had never been to a dentist. “This is a great way for me to help children and for it to take place in a place they are comfortable.”
Both the College Park Skyhawks mascot Colli Hawk and CareSource mascot Cuddles, a grey bear with a perpetual smile on his face, were around to entertain the kids waiting to see dentists.
“This is important because there are so many children in Georgia and metro Atlanta that still don’t have access to dental care, said,” Dr. Judy Greenlea Taylor, CareSource dental director and past president of the National Dental Association. Greenlea Taylor has volunteered her services to Team Smile the past decade. “It really does something to your heart,” she says of volunteering. “For some of these kids this will be the only time they go to the dentist this year.”