FREE TO SMILE FOUNDATION INC

Rating: 4.97 stars   35 reviews

Issues: Mental Health

Location: 75 E. Gay Street, Suite 300 Columbus OH 43215 USA

Mission: Free to Smile Foundation is dedicated to supporting and sustaining comprehensive, quality surgical and dental services to poor and underprivileged children and adolescents throughout the world. To this end, our volunteers and partner organizations will provide free surgical, dental and educational care for all that are served by the foundation across the globe.
Results: Free to Smile Foundation brings together individuals with a common vision who take action and do what we can to make the world a better place. We have worked hard to forge strong partnerships with local organizations at our mission sites in Guatemala, Tibet, Cambodia, and Niger, and look forward to expanding our reach through the support of friends, donors, and volunteers.
Target demographics: Free to Smile Foundation targets poor and underprivileged children and adolescents through comprehensive, quality surgical and dental services.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Free to Smile Foundation performs an average of 35-55 cleft lip or palate surgeries on each surgical mission, and provides dental care for 100-200 patients on each dental mission. From February 2011 to February 2012, direct beneficiaries exceeded 500 children and adolescents.
Geographic areas served: Current mission sites include Guatemala, Tibet, Cambodia, and Niger.
Programs: Our team of doctors and volunteers donate all services to patients at no charge. To ensure all donated money is used most efficiently to help the children in need, we pay our own airfares to our mission sites in Guatemala, Cambodia, Tibet, and Niger.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteer regularly with Free to Smile Foundation. They are the best. Everything on a mission runs smoothly and the environment is always positive and fun. The work done by FTS is amazing. To be able to be there personally to see the changes that are being made in the lives of those in need and to see the look on parents faces when their baby is finally repaired is an experience I will always treasure.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

The work that Free to Smile does is life-changing and incredible. I have traveled 3 times with FTS and have seen the faces of the parents and children of Guatemala and experienced with them the joy of finally having a cleft lip or palate fixed. Free to Smile Foundation and it’s Founders, Byron and Stacy Henry, put their whole hearts into this foundation and the work they do. Traveling with FTS is easy because they are so well-organized. The planning and execution of trips is nearly flawless, so that everyone is able to focus on the purpose of the trip and accomplishing our goal of helping those in need in severely under served regions. I plan to return to Guatemala with FTS in February and I can't wait!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer surgeon with FTS for 3 years and multiple missions. Every time my respect and admiration of this organization, and the people behind it, continues to grow.

Nearly 3 years ago I wrote:

Many nonprofit charity groups are worthy of recognition, but Free To Smile stands apart from the rest. The people associated with this organization at every level exemplify selflessness and compassion, and it is evident in their work. They are focused and caring individuals who are driven to serve humanity on a global scale. I have participated as a surgeon on other mission trips, but my experience with Free To Smile has surpassed them all. I am proud of my association with this wonderful group of people, and look forward to many more opportunities to be a part of the Free To Smile team.

Those words are more true today than they were when I wrote them.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I went on my first mission to Guatemala in September 2013 as a non medically trained person. Each volunteer pays their own airfare, hotel and meals. Everything is well organized. The money you donate truly goes to the patient surgery and care. I have donated both time and money to Free To Smile and highly recommend them. Free to Smile changes the life of the patient, their family, the volunteer, making the world a little bit better.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been on several FTS mission trips as a translator. It has always been an honor and privilege to participate in the life changing procedures carried out by the FTS volunteers. I never imagined being able to use my language skills in such a meaningful way. I am grateful to have been involved with FTS, and look forward to my future involvement. I feel like I have gotten out as much or more than those that we have served. Dr. and Mrs. Henry are true heroes to the impoverished, and run a top notch organization with no agenda other than to serve those less fortunate. I thank them for the opportunity to help out.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a plastic surgeon and have been a volunteer with many organizations involved in repair of cleft lips and palates in Latin America and Africa. Free To Smile is unique in operating with the lowest possible overhead while recruiting the most enthusiastic volunteers that I have worked with and obtaining the best results that I have seen on any of my projects. It is a very special group with great leadership.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Where should I begin?????
As Co-Founder, Executive Director and a Board Member, it is obvious that I am passionate about our organization and our cause!! Entering our sixth year as a non-profit providing FREE cleft lip and cleft plate surgery and dental care to the impoverished, Free to Smile has been able to change the lives of 400 cleft children and 2,500 dental patients. We have taken nearly 350 volunteers on missions and worked with numerous others here locally. All of our volunteers are extremely invested in FTS as well. Each of them pay for their own airfare and their in country fees associated with each trip. There are no free rides which genuinely tells us that these volunteers REALLY want to be there and to help those FTS patients around the world! If you were to ask any of our volunteers, I think they would tell you Free to Smile is like a family-- that after spending a mission together there is a bond like no other. To me that is pretty special and that is why our volunteers return year after year for more missions or to help in other ways!
Free to Smile has been greatly supported by all private donations and grants. We receive nearly all our medical and dental supplies through donations from companies and other non-profits disbursing such supplies. This allows a donors money to truly help children and NOT to pay for large office buildings and grand overhead expenses. To us, this makes Free to Smile special!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a pediatric nurse and volunteered on a mission trip to Guatemala this past year. This experience with Free To Smile changed my life in more ways than one. It is hard to put into words what this organization does for those underprivileged and ostracized in this world. Free to Smile gives those in desperate need a chance to be part of their community and also gives them a second chance at life that they would not normally be granted. Their selfless giving shows such great compassion to these children and their families. To see the smiles on the children and their loved ones is one of the greatest gifts I've been given. Stacy and Byron Henry are truly great people who genuinely care to make a difference in this world. I am so privileged to be a firsthand witness to their unique gift to the world.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Free To Smile Foundation is definitely a GREAT Nonprofit and an incredible organization! I have been a special event volunteer with FTS for the past four years. FTS provides life-changing cleft lip and palate surgeries and dental services/education programs, which are improving the lives of so many people and their families throughout the world! FTS has a special place in our hearts, as our daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate 15 years ago. We know, first-hand, how incredibly challenging this birth defect can be with regards to feeding, overall nutrition, many surgeries, and socially, as well. To hear the stories about how some of the children and adults are shunned in these impoverished, third-world countries because of their deformity, makes us very sad. At the same time, we are very grateful for the wonderful care our daughter received here in the US and we are extremely impressed with the work of FTS in other countries around the globe to help these individuals with our same challenges. We know how much it means to receive help in repairing the cleft lip and palate and the positive results that affect many areas of someone's life - especially a child's life! The FTS Co-Founders, the FTS Board, and the mission and event volunteers have a genuine passion for wanting to help others and make a difference. I am very proud to be involved with such a wonderful organization.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I'm impressed by the efficiency with which donated resources and funds are delivered to the care of patients.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have now been on 3 trips organized by Free To Smile. I am honored to have been able to participate in the activities of this organization where very good quality medical care is provided in less than ideal situations, to people desperately in need of these surgeries and done so with an organizational structure that wastes nothing.
Beyond the reward of being able to help others it is also rewarding to be able to say thank you directly to a donor and know that what that generous person has decided to donate is respected by a body that uses these donations very efficiently.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Hello there, this was second mission trip and my first with Free to Smile. Great trip, awesome team, very well run organization. This trip was to rural Guatemala, the people were very appreciative and welcoming. Can't wait for the next one.

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