tooth decay

'Give Kids a Smile Program' for New York CIty Kids, Uplifting Humanity

My beat covers anything ‘uplifting of humanity,’ such as Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) – a national event organized by the American Dental Association (ADA). It has taken place every year since 2003 all around the United States and is launched on the first Friday in February. This event brings together dentists, dental staff and other volunteers to provide screenings, treatment and dental education to children, their parents and teachers.

Nydia Velazquez (center) and GKAS volunteers watch
student demonstrate how to brush. Photo: NYCDS/Jason Green Photography.

Nationwide each year, 350,000 to 400,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 Give Kids A Smile events all because of 40,000 or more annual volunteers.

This event is extremely special to the New York County Dental Society (NYCDS) and the New York City community. NYCDS, under the leadership of Dr. Deborah Weisfuse, the NYCDS Executive Committee, the NYCDS Board and scores of volunteers, ran an extremely successful event a year ago serving eight public schools at three sites in Manhattan in East Harlem, West Harlem, and the Lower East Side.


NYC Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Health Committee, Corey Johnson,
holds plaque from New York County Dental Society in recognition of his support for
Give Kids A Smile NYC. With (l-r) past NYCDS Legislative Chair Dr. Sheldon Nadler,
GKAS Chair Dr. Deborah Weisfuse, and former NCYDS President Maurice Edwards.
Photo: NYCDS/Jason Green Photography.

Screenings were provided, along with oral hygiene instructions, and a review of healthy eating habits were reviewed with over 800 primary school children utilizing movies, crafts, puppets, in a festive atmosphere. The importance of the day was not lost on the local, state and national politicians who showed up to be a part of this special event.

Students eagerly line up to be screened. Photo: New York County Dental Society.

As an ever-growing event, this year we hope to provide an even greater number of underserved children with exams, caries assessment and hygiene instruction. Parents will receive information on where to get access to free or inexpensive treatment for their children at area clinics. We anticipate much publicity surrounding this event, as well as participation from government officials and politicians at all levels.


Volunteers and students at PS 188 on New York’s Lower East Side.
NYCDS/Photo: Jason Green Photography.

Founded in 1868, the New York County Dental Society represents one of the largest groups of practicing dentists in the country and is the largest component dental society in New York State and the third largest component society in the country. Community outreach and volunteerism is a key component to the Mission Statement of the Dental Society.

Give Kids A Smile is a wonderful opportunity for members to get involved and help underserved students learn about the importance of dental health, receive an oral examination by a licensed dentist and referral for treatment when deemed necessary.

Two students practice brushing with a puppet on their own.
NYCDS/Photo: Jason Green Photography.

It is shocking that dental decay is still the single most common chronic childhood disease. Regular dental checkups are critical to keep children’s teeth and gums healthy. We are proud that our organization has been vetted by the New York City Department of Health and the New York City Department of Education Legal Department to move forward with this important program.

NYCDS is gearing up to provide exams and education to over 1,200 underserved students throughout Manhattan at the following locations:

GKAS Volunteers performing screenings. Photo: NYCDS/Jason Green Photography.

School sites are as follows, 8-2pm Friday, February 3 2017:

Upper West Side site will be at PS185/208 campus at 20 West 112th Street, NYC

Upper East Side site will be at the PS83/182 BBMS campus at 219 East 109th Street, NYC

Lower East Side: PS 20, 166 Essex Street, NYC

An unprecedented number of leaders, members, students and special guests came together on May 7 to enjoy a fantastic evening celebrating the kick-off for Give Kids A Smile NYC 2016. The stellar event highlighted a new collaboration with the City of New York to improve access to dental care for underserved populations. Wine, hors d’oeuvres, and dinner (as well as a Scotch Tasting!) enhanced the celebration.

Give Kids A Smile is doing amazing work uplifting of humanity. To contribute to this important cause, I encourage you to give online here.

See Stories by Jim Luce on:

Health | New York | Philanthropy | Social Responsibility

Historic Dental Organization Promotes Helping Disadvantaged Youth in NYC

The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation ( supporting young global leadership is affiliated with Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW), raising global citizens. If supporting youth is important to you, subscribe to J. Luce Foundation updates here.

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