It was 20 years ago when a group of dentists gathered in a downtown St. Louis building — one that had been condemned and was ready to be demolished within the following month.
“Boy, don’t we remember that first venue?” said Jeffrey Dalin, D.D.S., Give Kids A Smile St. Louis co-founder. “But we delivered full-service dental care to 325 children.”
It was a story of the first two-day GKAS clinic that ultimately expanded nationally, thanks to the American Dental Association. Dr. Dalin shared that story during the Feb. 4 virtual 2021 GKAS National Kickoff event — a small reminder of how far the program has come, helping more than 6 million underserved kids nationally receive free dental services since 2003.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GKAS kickoff event, typically a large, in-person affair that includes volunteers providing free dental care to hundreds of children, looked a little different. Nonetheless, the 30-minute virtual event highlighted the program’s mission and importance.
The remarks of leaders, sponsors and volunteers stressed one certain fact: in light of the pandemic, Give Kids A Smile is needed more than ever this year.