Charity for the Soul
Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT
Have you ever found yourself compelled to give back to the profession, community, or causes that you believe in wholeheartedly? Philanthropic dental efforts have seen a steady increase as more dental professionals are providing much-needed cost-free dental services to the underserved, disadvantaged, and others needing it most. There are several ways one can contribute to the well-being of their community and society-through time, spirit, talent, or money-and the personal benefits are immense.
Time is among the most valuable factors of any charitable organization. Many are in dire need of the proper manpower to provide the appropriate services or goods to their beneficiaries. Whether it's assisting in administrative tasks, answering phone calls or emails, or simply providing help during an event, volunteers provide appreciable benefits to the organization and to themselves.
Spirit is a donation of energy and organization. A donor may choose to utilize their energy and leadership to commence a new charitable venture that provides a great service to local people in need.
Talent is perhaps the most direct path to giving back. Dental laboratories and dental technicians provide a unique service that is necessary for dental charities offering restorative dental services. Most state dental associations participate and provide this practice of community service. Nationally there are multiple nonprofit dental charitable programs like Dental Lifeline Network (dentallifeline.org), Oral Health America (oralhealthamerica.org), and American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation (aacd.com), a provider of no-cost dental care to domestic violence victims, to name a few.
Making monetary donations is yet another way to give back to your community. Providing charitable funds often helps organizations meet their peripheral expenses.
The recipients of dental services are not the only beneficiaries; studies have shown that being charitable enriches both those who give as well as those who receive. Research by the Greater Good Science Center in Berkeley, California, supports the belief that being charitable with others makes us happy, is good for our health, promotes social connection and social responsibility, evokes gratitude, and is surprisingly contagious. Promoting a humanitarian environment in your laboratory can foster a culture of generosity and compassion, leading the laboratory's team members to be more happily productive, while empathy for the patients served may evoke a greater focus on quality, thereby invigorating the laboratory's success. Furthermore, participating in charitable efforts shines a positive light on the laboratory and its team and aligns the laboratory with like-minded dental professionals who share similar values.
It is a great honor and privilege to bring this to you and elevate and inspire with knowledge.