RC Bacolod Central
A dentist could not contain his disappointment after a chance meeting with a high school classmate who teaches in a public school in southern Negros. His classmate is missing some front teeth.
Dr. Carlos Legislador immediately called on her twin, Dr. Enigardo, who was the past governor of Rotary District 3850, broaching a possible advocacy on dental health and a campaign to give free dentures to public school teachers.
Hence, “Project Smile” and the partnership between the Rotary Club of Bacolod Central and the Philippine Dental Association-Negros came about in 2018.
Twenty teachers from both Handumanan Elementary and High Schools were signed up as pilot recipients of the project which aims to boost confidence of these mentors. They have been enrolled for a dental makeover.
Former PDA chapter president Dr. Ellen Mansueto says the teachers will receive free dentures and discounted dental services such as extractions and filling. “This is only the beginning as we aim to bring more smiles to these teachers,” she says, adding that it is a sad reality that there are many of them are in dire need of dental makeover.
Many of them have forgo the opportunity to improve on their dental health mainly for economic reasons and some simply for lack of access, club past president Toks Lopez says, as she acknowledges the initiative of Dr. Carlos Legislador who also launched a similar project in southern Negros in his personal capacity.
Students look up to their teachers and the project will be a great boost to their mentors’ confidence, he stresses.
Members of the dental group readily signed up for the project, says Dr. Mansueto, who also eventually joined RC Bacolod Central.
With the current pandemic, the project has been temporarily halted due to health and safety limitations. However, the club and its dentist-partners are bent on not only continuing the project but also to expand it, seeing how it greatly impact on the lives of these teachers.