The Pilot Club of Jackson County and the Jackson County Oral Health Coalition are sponsoring Jackson County’s first Give Kids a Smile! event.

The event is set for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 7 and will provide free dental screenings and cleanings for children.

The service will be provided for 50 children who would not otherwise be able to receive dental care. Dr. Leah Hairston with “Hairston Family Dentistry” in Ravenswood and Dr. Paul D. Perrine and Dr. Ashton L. Staunton with Perrine and Staunton in Ripley have volunteered their day to accommodate children throughout the county.

Hairston’s office is located at 707 Washington St., Ravenswood. Perrine and Staunton’s office is located at 119 S. Court St. in Ripley.

If you are interested in your child receiving care, please call 304-532-0822 to make an appointment. Do not call the dentist offices. You will need to complete all necessary paperwork.

The first Give Kids a Smile took place in 2002. Dr. Jeff Dalin and Dr. B. Ray Storm provided the event in a run-down, soon-to-be-demolished dental clinic in St. Louis, where 15 patient chairs were scraped together to deliver free dental care to nearly 400 children.

Two months later, the American Dental Association adopted this program, and it has been a national success and opportunity for more than 5 million children nationwide.

Dalin was part of a committee whose members were discussing programs that would provide dentistry around the world. He was quoted as saying, “Why go overseas to work when we have people in our own backyard with no access to dental care?”

We often forget the impact that one individual can have on this world we live in,” said Jenny Scholl, one of the event’s organizers. “One man had an idea and as a result, more than 5.5 million underserved children have received free oral health services since 2002.

Just in 2018, there have been 1,392 vents and 295,116 children served, with 6,905 participating dentists and 24,394 additional volunteers. Scholl said Jackson County will soon add to these numbers.

“We have, through the Pilot Club of Jackson County and the Jackson County Oral Health Coalition, obtained the materials we need for our very first event,” she said.

Hariston, Perrine and Staunton are excited to be participating in a nationwide movement of volunteerism to help young people obtain much-needed and otherwise unavailable oral health care.

“We have an opportunity to continue this path that just one man began 16 years ago by serving children in Jackson County,” Scholl said. “It will be a challenge, but also a very rewarding day of reaching out, helping and giving back.