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 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 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.
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!