TO APPLY FOR THE 2015 1000 SMILES PROJECT:
Our online Application Form is temporarily not working due to our webhosting company. To apply for one of the weeks below please email tiffany here with your name, phone number, week you want to go, who else is in your group, your profession and then fill out our intake form here. We will respond within two working days to your email. Thank you!
Project fee: $800, plus your airfare. Returning volunteers who apply AND pay during pre-registration in February pay $775.
1000 Smiles Project Dates 2015:
You can choose to serve for any of the one week choices below. Two week spaces are VERY limited and are primarily reserved for returning volunteers. If you choose to apply for a two week space, please give us a one week alternative in your application.
NEW IN 2015!
Weeks 5 and 6 have been cancelled for 2015. We have added Week A in August and a special May session where volunteers will stay at Sugar Hill Villa in Tryall Club near Montego Bay.
Week T: - May 2 to 11
NEW! Session A - Negril
Week A: - Aug. 21 to Aug 30
Week 1 - Aug 28 to Sept 6
Week 2 - Sept 5 to Sept 14
Week 3 - Sept 18 to Sept 27
Week 4 - Sept 26 to Oct 5
Week 7 - Nov 6 to Nov 15
Week 8 - Nov 14 to Nov 23
Spring - April 24 to May 4 (Ocho Rios)
Fall - Oct 30 to Nov 9 (Montego Bay)
SL Week 1 - July 24 to Aug 2
SL Week 2 - Aug 1 to Aug 10
The 1000 Smiles Overview:
Great Shape!'s 1000 Smiles Dental Project provides free access to dental care and education to Jamaican families. More than 350 volunteers join 1000 Smiles each year to provide Jamaicans with fillings, cleanings, extractions, sealants, dentures and oral health education in temporary dental clinics and schools. Each week during the project there are some 45 volunteers that make up the team. Watch the slide show report from 2013 on YouTube here: 1000 Smiles Slide Show Report 2013
Dental professionals and non-dental pro’s (family, friends or anyone who has a big heart and wants to help) work out of temporary, MASH-style clinics. Our teams partner with Sandals Foundation, the Jamaican Ministry of Health and Jamaica’s University of Technology.
Through our very generous partnership, the Sandals Foundation and Sandals Resorts International provide all accommodations, meals, entertainment, logistical support and in-country transporation at no charge.
It's all about "One Love"
5ChiliEach year, about 350 humanitarian heroes travel to Jamaica from all across the USA, Canada, the UK and beyond to help over 20,000 people in great need. In the process, we find that we the volunteers receive far more from the project than we can ever give. We ask each volunteer to join with an open heart, a good sense of humor, a willingness to learn and the ability to "go with the flow". The purpose of this project can be spelled out in four letters: L-O-V-E!
In Jamaica, they have a saying: "One Love" - which simply means we are all brothers and sisters in the highest spiritual sense. That is why we care - that is why we come.
We are repeatedly told by our volunteers their lives have been forever changed positively by the 1000 Smiles Project. They tell us this is one of, if not the most, rewarding experiences of their lives. Volunteers make new friends, learn about Jamaicans, learn about themselves and have a chance to act from the heart to become that highest person within.
Who Can Go?
You don’t have to be a dental professional to volunteer on the 1000 Smiles Project. Dentists of all types, hygienists, dental and hygiene students and other dental professionals make up about 2/3 of our team. The other 1/3 includes friends, parents, students, retirees, lawyers, construction workers and folks from all walks of life. Non-dental professionals help with various jobs such as patient flow, sterilization, radiography, chair side assisting and the education team. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. Exceptions may be requested from Great Shape! staff.
How Long Can I Stay?
Most volunteers stay for 1 week (9 nights/10 days). However, there are some two week spaces which are very limited and allotted based on programatic need, seniority and other factors. You must arrive and depart on specific dates (see top for details). If you wish to arrive or depart on other dates you must get permission from Great Shape! staff and you will be responsible for any additional expenses incurred, including hotels.
1) Volunteers pay their own airfare and an $800 project fee*.
2) Hotel, food, drinks, airport transfers in Jamaica and resort amenities are all provided for free.
3) You can be refunded some or all of your project fee and airfare through our Sponsor a Smile fundraising campaign. Ask for more info.
4) Your project fee and travel expenses are tax deductible. All donations made to Great Shape! in the Sponsor a Smile campaign are tax deductible for the donor.
5) Dentists and hygienists must buy or procure donations for all supplies necessary to serve 75 patients per week. Many volunteers get these items donated.
6) All other volunteers bring 2 boxes of gloves their size and 200 toothbrushes.
7) Volunteers pay to ship their supplies to Miami. Great Shape! Inc. pays to ship the supplies from Miami to Jamaica.
* All project fees go directly to offset the expenses of the project to operate and administer a well organized, safe and productive international humanitarian experience.
The 1000 Smiles Project was co-founded and is directed by Great Shape! Executive Director Joseph Wright (aka Papa Joe) and by Dr. Sherwin Shinn (aka "Doc"), DDS, who is the 2013 ADA Humanitairan of the Year. Jamaica's own Salli-Jo Walker is the 1000 Smiles Project Manager and runs most of the day to day operations of the project. She will answer your questions about supplies, instruments and everything you need to do your job in country. Tiffany Rinaldi is our Senior Executive Assistant, based in California. She will approve all applications and assist with registration and payments. Each session also will feature a dedicated team of project coordinators to make all the “behind-the-scenes” magic happen!
The work is hard but rewarding. After a long hard day in the field, you'll experience fun & friendship in the relaxing luxury of Sandals and Beaches All-Inclusive Resorts. While the primary purpose is to help those in need, there is plenty of cross cultural interaction, learning and free-time. In general, work is 8-5 M-F while evenings and weekends offer free time. First Sundays are set aside for orientation and set up.
Teams & Clinical Services
Our group divides into 3 to 4 teams consisting of dentists, assistants, hygienists and other helpers. Each team is typically around 13 persons and assigned to different locations. The typical clinic will feature 5 chairs with 3 dentists and 2 hygienists. We set up portable dental equipment in temporary clinic locations ranging from country schools to rural health clinics. We also set up a clinic at the host hotel to treat Sandals and Beaches staff. Children and adults come to us for basic dental services including cleanings, fillings, sealants and extractions. While we want to save every tooth possible, the reality is that the greatest need is often an extraction. All types of dentists are welcome. The typical general dentist will perform about 70% extractions and 30% restoratives. We do our best to match up dentists with teams that compliment their skills.
Our fifth team visits schools in the area promoting oral hygiene. Toothbrushes, paste, and floss are also distributed. The education component is considered critical to our long term goals of sustaining and promoting healthier teeth and gums.
Ministry of Health
We work under the authority of the Dental Council of Jamaica and the Jamaican Ministry of Health. Therefore dental professionals must register with the Dental Council for temporary license to practice. Great Shape! facilitates this process. We often have Jamaican dental auxilliaries work with us in the clinics. These professionals are well educated and are experts in working on Jamaican teeth. We can learn as much from them as they do from us. In all cases, we volunteers must remember that we are visitors in another country and we must always approach our relationship with Jamaican officials with the greatest of respect, honor and grace.
Dental work in rural Jamaica is challenging. Our volunteers often tell us “I never work this hard at home!” You will be working in the humid, tropical heat, often in rudimentary buildings, sometimes with the electricity or water gone. Sometimes the equipment doesn’t behave. However, these challenges are all part of the adventure of humanitarian projects. We support the teams as best as possible to keep things flowing and going and to make your work environment as safe and comfortable as possible.
The project provides patient chairs, stools, sterilization and delivery systems. Through the generous donations of various volunteers, we have newer portable ADEC delivery units. These units feature standard 4/5 hole tubing for slow and high speed hand pieces, air/water, and suction. The suction evacuates to a saliva bottle on the unit that must be emptied into a toilet or pit after every patient. We also provide steam autoclaves at each clinic, along with amalgamators and cure lights. We are working to have digital x-rays at every clinic but this is not yet standardized. We have some Cavitrons and tips but we recommend that hygienists bring their own if possible. All dentists, hygienists and assitants must bring a headlight and we highly recommend that all other volunteers do so also. High lumen, focused beam headlamps can be purchased at REI or similar for around $60 USD. Try Black Diamond brand.
Hand Instruments and Supplies
Dentists and Hygienists are responsible to bring their needed hand instruments and supplies, including hand pieces and headlamps. Be sure you bring the couple/swivel that some hand pieces require to plug directly into the 4/5 hole tubing.
Volunteers must also ship enough disposable supplies to treat 75 patients per week. We provide checklists for supplies and hand instruments. Most volunteers ask their suppliers for donated materials and pharmaceuticals. Volunteers will need to box up all supplies to be used in Jamaica and ship them to Miami by July. Great Shape! will ship all supplies from Miami to Jamaica, clear them through customs and have them available to you before your work starts. You will be given more instructions on this process.
Hand instruments and any other items you intend to bring back to the USA must be carried with you in your check-in luggage. Each volunteer must provide lists of supplies, medications, and hand tools so we can obtain appropriate approval in advance from the government of Jamaica for importation and tax waivers. More information about supplies and instruments will be given to volunteers after registration.
Lack of instruments and supplies should never be a reason to NOT volunteer with Great Shape! If you will have trouble with supplies or instruments please contact us. We will work with you to try to get what you will need to volunteer.
Locations, Schedule and Accommodations
The clinics are scattered throughout the Parishes of Hanover (town of Negril), St. James & Trelawny (town of Montego Bay), St. Ann & St. Mary (town of Ocho Rios), St Elizabeth & Westmoreland (town of Whitehouse). They are located in health clinics, churches, schools and other facilities. All clinics are less than an hour's drive from the hotels. Each morning, volunteers leave the hotel at 8am by van, start work by 9am and return by 5pm. Evenings and weekends are free time except for first Sunday with is dedicated to orientation and setup. Although your project will not change, your specific hotel/location can change at any time at the sole discretion of Sandal Resorts.
3 People to a Room with Couples exception…
Accommodations are in the first class, all-inclusive Sandals Resorts. They include all you can eat, drink and play. These hotels are within a 10 minute to 2 hour drive from the Montego Bay Airport. Each volunteer will share a room with two other people. Couples must either bring a third person or pay a third project fee to secure a private room for the two of them. Couples may also elect to room separately. Please note that sometimes the rooms are small & often at least one person is assigned a roll away bed. Volunteers will be matched with roommates by request or in the most compatible way, whenever possible. We recommend organizing your group into 3’s so you can be roommates with those you know. Volunteers are welcome to enjoy the many amenities of the resorts during their free time, including various restaurants, bars, entertainment, water sports, scuba diving, pools, etc – all free!
Airfare and Travel Dates
The airport you MUST fly into is Montego Bay, Jamaica or "MBJ". Volunteers make their own travel arrangements but must arrive and depart the hotel on the exact approved dates. Airfare from the US to Jamaica can vary from $300 to $900 depending on location, airline and availability. Many airlines provide service to Jamaica. Shop around before you buy.
All visitors to Jamaica are required to carry a current (not expired) passport to enter Jamaica. Americans, Canadians and citizens from several other countries are NOT required to have a VISA to enter Jamaica. If you are not a US or Canadian citizen, please contact us to make sure you have the correct documentation for entry and return. You should always carry a photo copy of your travel documents separate from the originals in case the originals are lost or stolen. This will expedite permission to re-enter your country.
Water, Food, & Health Concerns
We highly recommend you consult your doctor before traveling to Jamaica or any foreign country for current health considerations. You may also wish to visit the US Embassy website or CDC website for latest health updates for Jamaica. In 2014, the Chikungunya Virus spread across the Caribbean, including Jamaica. Chikungunya is a virus that causes joint pain, fever, headache and sometimes rash. It appears the outbreak has run its course and is no longer considered a high risk in Jamaica, but all volunteers will be advised to follow normal precautions of wearing mosquito repellent and long clothes where mosquitos are present.
Water in most communities in Jamaica is treated and safe to drink from the tap. Bottled water is also readily available. The food is plentiful, delicious, fresh, varied and safe to eat. There are doctors and hospitals in Jamaica, but emergency services can be difficult to obtain in a timely fashion. As is typical in a developing nation, the quality or availability of health care services may be well below what we are used to in America.
Emergency evacuation to the USA for emergency medical attention may be required, depending on the severity and urgency of the situation. We strongly advise each volunteer secure their own emergency medical travel insurance and contact your health insurance company about what to do and what is covered in the event of a medical emergency. We also recommend you discuss an emergency plan with your doctor and that keep phone numbers of primary care providers with you at all times.
Jamaica has an HIV rate of 1.7% of the population as of 2009 according to the CIA world fact book. This is far below many countries in Africa and other places. Yet the risk of infection by an accidental poke with a needle or other sharp instrument remains. We place a high emphasis on safety with our volunteers to take the greatest of care in the clinics to prevent any kind of accident. Testing (patients and volunteers) for HIV is possible in Jamaica, but sometimes it is not available in a timely fashion and sometimes the patient refuses to test. In the unlikely event you are poked with a dirty needle or instrument, you will have to decide if you want to take HIV medications (prophylaxis). WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you review this possibility with your doctor prior to participation and have a post exposure plan in place for yourself.
If you have more questions, please email us