Making a Difference in Our Community
I have known Dr. John Sullivan since 2003, when I first began my career in dentistry, choosing to find and work with only the very best dentists in the country on their marketing and thereby help them attract patients whom they could best serve and who would be most likely to value the quality service delivered. Dr. Sullivan was my first “big” client – strange it may sound, but in world of dentistry (and yes, there is one) he is a well-known and well-respected dentist, both for his skill and expertise and for his ingrained sense of honor. We became friends from that point on and over the next decade I worked with hundreds of dentists and dental companies.
Fast forward ten years: we found ourselves both single, and decided to become life partners. Why? For me, as I’ve told so many of our friends, it was in no small part because of his honor and “do-gooder” menatlity. Even if Dr. Sullivan never had to work another day in his life, he’d still open the practice doors of Smile Central Valley every single day in order to help as many of his friends and neighbors as possible. I always thought I was a serious “pollyanna”, but he outshines me by far. And when you put the two of us together, we start imagining fantastical futures where everyone has a happy, healthy, shining and beautiful smile so that everyone’s life can be as fulfilling as possible.
To that end, we actively participate in several philanthropic endeavors, from the national Give Back a Smile campaign, sponsored by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and focused on restoring the smiles of survivors of domestic violence, to participating in Free Dental Days across the country, to our own local initiative: Smile Forward.
What do we mean by “Smile Forward” you may ask? For us and our incredible team it is two-fold: first, the phrase “Smile Forward” is our vision statement. It means that everything we do each and every day we walk into the practice is intended to make the world and our patients’ lives a better place through modern dentistry. It sounds trite to those not enamored with dentistry to the extent we are, but think about it: what fun is life if you can’t talk with ease, enjoy your favorite foods, sing with abandon, or smile your love upon your beloved? To us, that is everything.
Second, “Smile Forward” refers to our own internal philanthropic effort. You see, every month as a team we nominate and then vote upon an individual in our community that we would like the opportunity to help through dentistry. When we choose someone, we have a private, quiet conversation, telling him or her that we want to help, for absolutely no cost to them or their family, and that the only thing we ask is they “pay it forward” in some way once we’re finished with treatment, in any way they choose, large or small. We ask them to do whatever speaks to them – and then tell us what they did.
In this way we get to help someone – whether a current patient of ours or not, it doesn’t matter – to have a more fulfilling life, and we get to experience the joy of not only seeing their beautiful smile when we’re finished with treatment, but hearing about the lovely acts of kindness they send out into the world as a result of our time, energy, resources and skill.
As a team, our “Smile Forward” initiative has been the single most motivating factor in our development as a team as it reminds all of us what life is about: a single, sincere smile that makes a difference.
We invite you to find a way to smile forward yourself, in any way large or small, and tell us what you did 🙂
For more information on the AACD’s Give Back a Smile Foundation, please call 800-773-4227 or visit www.aacd.com/givebackasmile.
Bright Smiles Foundation
925 North Blackstone
Tulare, CA 93274