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 volunteered with Free to Smile in February, 2014 as a translator in Guatemala. What an amazing experience and organization. Free to Smile was well organized, communicated well, and took great care of patients, families, and volunteers. Being able to help the children and their families was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Thank you Free to Smile for your work and for allowing me to be a small part of it!

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

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I accompanied Free to Smile on a Guatemala mission and was impressed with how quickly the team became comfortable with each other and how wonderfully they worked together - you'd think they all worked with each other on a daily basis back home! Returning volunteers made the new volunteers feel so welcome and useful. Stacy and Byron did a great job at organizing all aspects and making each volunteer feel valued. Every team member worked so well with the families, too - such sincerity, love and compassion. It was a very inspiring week.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

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?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Wow! Another awesome mission trip with the Free To Smile Foundation in February to Uspantan, Guatemala. This was my 4th mission trip as a surgical nurse to Guatemala with Free To Smile. We were able to change the lives forever of 39 beautiful children during our surgical mission in Guatemala. I feel Blessed to be involved in this mission, to be part of the change that will allow these children to look and feel whole. As always, the attention to detail and the organization of this trip excelled thanks to the many talents of Stacy Henry. I was honored once again to work side by side with Dr. Byron Henry in the operating room. His surgical skills are truly incredible! The entire team was very flexible and talented as well. Thanks for another memorable mission!

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?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

I volunteered as an anesthesiologist with Free To Smile on their mission to Uspantan, Quiche, Guatemala. It was a memorable trip in more ways than one. I have gone on several medical missions in the past with many different organizations and this particular mission was one of the most well organized. In terms of logistics and support, Stacy and her team were phenomenal. This was my first trip with them and I must say I was not sure how my interaction would be with a group of complete strangers. But, this special group of delightful people from Ohio showered me with kindness and generosity and made me feel as one of their own. ( I have always gone on missions with a group of professionals that I have worked with in New England). Dr Byron Henry is a highly skilled surgeon with a missionary zeal. His infectious enthusiasm and his concern for his team members is exemplary. I had an opportunity to work with a team of pediatric anesthesia professionals and this experience was truly educational.
On the whole this mission trip was very fulfilling. It never felt like work. It was like a family vacation.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

As a Maxillofacial Surgery resident I had the unique opportunity to travel to Guatemala on a Free to Smile Trip in February of 2013. I was extremely impressed with quality and adaptability of the Free to Smile Organization. Stacy's team management, logistical coordination and support was the cornerstone to this uniquely well run trip. The team worked together extremely well and the efficiency of our time at the hospital surpassed that of the hospital that I work at currently in the United States. The team was curated tremendously well by Byron and Stacy. The mentorship I received from Dr. Henry inside and outside the OR has reinforced my passion for public health at a time in residency when it has waned. I value my experience in Guatemala as the single most rewarding experience, educationally and emotionally, that I have had since I began my residency.

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?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I was a late and unexpected addition to the Free to Smile February 2012 Guatemala Cleft and Dental Mission team. What I experienced was one of the most emotionally draining and truly satisfying experiences of my life. Having never been exposed first hand to this type of organization or this type of trip it was mind boggling to me the efficiency at which it operated. Imagine this, 25 people coming from 2 different countries, 7 different states and 14 different cities leaving their egos (if they had any to begin with)at the airline gate and immediately functioning as 1 cohesive unit with 1 common goal - changing lives for the better.
I had not intended to immediately take another trip with Free to Smile and I must confess that the reason was purely a selfish one. My 2012 trip was such an emotional high for me that I feared it could not be duplicated and any less of an experience would dampen that high I so cherished. With a little hesitation I accepted their invitation to join the Free to Smile 2013 Cleft Mission Trip to Uspantan, Quiche, Guatemala. I learned many new things about Free to Smile on this trip. I learned that when you sign on with Free to Smile, it doesn't matter where you go or who goes with you, the mission always remains the same – change lives and make beautiful smiles. I learned that you will always find grateful, loving people who hold so much hope in their hearts. I learned that you will always be teamed with people who share in their selfless compassion to make someone else’s life better. I learned that for those of us who are a little bit selfish, the opportunity to feel emotionally and spiritually rejuvenated is ever present. I learned that no matter what adversity or challenges come their way (and on this trip there were a few), Free to Smile excels at adapting and overcoming, always keeping their focus on the care of the patients and their families.
My role provides me the ability to meet the families and get an understanding of the hopes that many of them have traveled so far with. I also benefit from being able to see and share in the joy and appreciation they feel when they first see the new life and opportunity that their child has been given. It is a moment that is truly beyond description and I’m sorry but I must say, best witnessed firsthand. My selfish fears are now gone and I am a witness and I am a believer to the incredible work performed by the Free to Smile Foundation. I will forever be at their call!

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?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I went on my first mission trip with Free to Smile. It was a great experience in my life. I was lucky enough to observe the wonderful work they do with cleft palate surgeries and how grateful people were for the care! I was fortunate to help so many people with the organization and it really helped me appreciate all that I have. Free to Smile is a wonderful organization that helps so many people!!!

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?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I recently went on my first mission trip with Free to Smile to Guatemala this past October. This trip was truly life changing. Not only was this trip well run but it was full of great people. The trip was efficient, well organized, and fully focused on helping those with dental needs, cleft lips and palates. This trip exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to going on a trip again in the future.

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

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Free to Smile is changing lives all over the world through cleft palate surgeries and other dentistry needs. In June 2012 my daughter volunteered on the Niger trip, which proved to be a life changing event for her as well as the many patients who came to the hospital. Her experience there touched us all and the lives that were impacted serve as a reminder of the true needs in the world for children and adults in developing countries. To hear of malnourished children kept in sheds separate from the rest of their families because of a deformity believed to be a curse to the family is beyond gut-wrenching. For the patients to finally be able to eat and keep nourishment in their mouths because of the surgeries offered by Free to Smile is cause to do more. Free to Smile volunteers pay their airfare and room and board, the budget is tight and the administrative costs of the organization are spartan compared to other organizations. Their goal is to help as many people as possible in every way possible. To say I've been impressed with Free to Smile would be an understatement.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?