I had the great fortune of being able to volunteer with FTS last April in Guatemala and found it to be tremendously rewarding. I learned so much from the caring and talented volunteers who came from all over the country to assist this organization in treating the immensely deserving and grateful people of Guatemala. I know that we were signing up to help the underprivileged people of Guatemala to receive the dental care and cleft palate surgeries that they needed so desperately, but I came away from the experience with so much as well. I plan to continue supporting Free to Smile for many years to come.
I just went on a cleft lip/palate trip to Guatemala with Free to Smile, and was amazed at the work done by this incredible group of people. My role was photographer for the group, and I saw first-hand the joy on the parents' faces when they saw their child after surgery. To see them thanking the volunteers and telling them tearfully that they have changed their child's life and they can now have a future - it was an amazing sight to behold. As a mama of a cleft lip and palate child myself, I am so happy to see the dedication and love that goes into and pours forth from Free to Smile. So many thanks to all the volunteers for all that they do!
In April of 2015 I was invited to join the Free To Smile team in Guatemala. I'm a general dentist. My responsibility was to offer dental care to the supporting teams in Guatemala and their families. The experience was a delight. I worked with my dental assistant daughter and surgeon son. It was the experience of a lifetime. Watching particularly the mothers of these blessed children react when first seeing her child with the obvious defect corrected was priceless. Watching my little girl and my little boy bless the lives of these Guatemalan children was a lifetime moment. Will soon forget the moments. I shall never forget how I felt.
Mike Gailey, DDS MS
I have volunteered on every surgical trip Free to Smile has organized since 2013. Our goal on each of these trips has been to provide excellent medical care for children in need. Each of these children deserves the best chance at a happy, fulfilling life. Our incredible volunteers come together under challenging conditions to make this happen. I feel lucky to have found Free to Smile, and I am honored to donate my time, skills and dollars to help Free to Smile provide care for these children.
Free to Smile is a tremendous organization. I have volunteered numerous times with other groups and have had great experiences. However, my last trip to Guatemala with Free to Smile was something special. I have never seen a group come together so well and accomplish so much. The Free to Smile leadership is focused, kind, and enthusiastic. They are constantly trying to improve the superb care they already deliver. Their focus on helping children in need, and the sacrifices they make to do this are inspiring. I am grateful to be a part of this organization.
I learned of Free to Smile after I met the co-founders at our son's school. I will never forget how impressed I was to hear of their travels and works. Throughout the last five years, I've attended fundraisers and donated money to support their efforts. Last fall, I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia on a mission as the administrative role. It's difficult to find the words to explain how the trip changed my life. The group of people that run FTS and those that attend FTS trips are so selfless, compassionate, generous and loving. I realize there are much larger organizations that fund cleft lip and palette surgeries, but FTS is different. The volunteers pay their own way willingly and don't expect any financial support from the FTS fundraising. If you're looking to help children have a new life by correcting their cleft lip or palette, this is the organization to donate to. Every dollar you give truly changes a life.
I have had the pleasure of volunteering on multiple medical missions with Free To Smile. I look forward to every one of them. These medical missions are what keep me going through the year at my job back home. The board members, who participate on and organize the medical missions, truly care about and have a passion for what they are doing and that translates to all of the volunteers. Whether you're a new volunteer or seasoned, everyone is friendly and welcoming. Stacy is amazing! EVERY trip is well-organized and she makes sure everything runs smoothly and we have what we need to take care of all the children. I have volunteered on medical missions with other organizations and none have topped the quality and caring I have seen with Free To Smile. I am proud to be a part of such a wonderful cause with a fantastic Foundation.
I have gone on three mission trips with Free to Smile in the past year. This organization has truly changed my life along with the hundreds of children they help every year. Every trip has run smoothly and is adequately staffed. Free to smile truly puts forth its resources to make sure every child they serve has top notch care throughout the perioprative process. I can't say enough about Free to Smile. They are a cut above the rest!
I have the pleasure of volunteering with free to smile three to four times a year. It is a testament to the organization that we routinely have return volunteers who actively recruit new volunteers to further our mission. Byron and Stacy Henry, our founders, continue to show the same level of passion for helping the children of Latin America and African countries that they showed when the organization was initially founded. Every mission is meticulously planned and all volunteers are highly qualified for the position the will fulfill. I look forward to continuing to watch Free to Smile grow.
This small organization does amazing work. My son volunteered with their Guatemala cleft lip/ palate mission in 2013. It was absolutely amazing to see the lives they changed and the hope they gave these kids, young adults and families. They do all this with donations... I was so amazed that I have developed a program in which our small family business , the Dramm Corp.,promotes Free to Smile and donates financially... "springing Hope, Gardening for Smiles". Stacy and Byron Henry are the 'real deal', with their hearts in the right place:)
I volunteered ,for the first time,with FTS this past September and cannot wait go with this organization again. They were organized with our transportation accommodation and meals. And more so, the organization on the ground with the hospital and Tess UnLimited was flawless. It made the work us volunteers had to do so much smoother and easier.