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2013 GKAS Institute

Apply by April 29 for leadership development grants

April 15, 2013

By Stacie Crozier, ADA News staff

Ambassador in action: Monica Chavez, Tri-County Dental Society GKAS coordinator and 2011 GKAS Leadership Institute ambassador, pauses for a photo with Dr. Vijay Patel at a GKAS program in February.
Give Kids A Smile coordinators nationwide can learn best practices for launching, expanding or enhancing their program by applying for a 2013 Give Kids A Smile Community Leadership Development Institute grant.

The GKAS Institute, set for Oct. 23-26 in St. Louis, offers selected participants the opportunity to learn in-person how to initiate, expand and/or enhance a GKAS program. The program is sponsored by Hu-Friedy, Henry Schein and the ADA Foundation.

In February, Give Kids A Smile-St. Louis Executive Director Joan Allen visited southern California to observe several GKAS programs conducted by dentists in the Tri-County Dental Society. Tri-County's GKAS coordinator, Monica Chavez, participated in the leadership program in 2011.

“Having trained strong leaders like Monica Chavez has helped GKAS events reach more kids and improve the services offered by generous and caring volunteers,” Ms. Allen said. “It was exciting for me to see the enthusiastic way that many of our ideas and plans have been implemented. From T-shirts for volunteers, direct and complete dental care, goody bags of dental supplies, bright kid-friendly decorations, happy volunteers and thankful families to face painting for the kids, the message was delivered—Give Kids A Smile is a great dental care program for all underserved kids everywhere. We look forward to our next Institute in October. Sharing of best practices and ideas will make us better and stronger to serve.”

A link to the online application can be found on the GKAS Community Leadership Development Institute Web page. The deadline is April 29.

Fun with kids: A Tri-County Dental Society GKAS program features face painting for participating children.
Candidates must demonstrate commitment and ability to begin a new GKAS program or enhance an existing one; have experience with managing/chairing an access to care event; and hold a position in their organization that will allow them to effectively implement lessons learned during the GKAS Institute. Applicants do not necessarily have to be a licensed dentist or hygienist.

Participants will hone their leadership and development skills and also serve as ambassadors for the St. Louis Give Kids A Smile fall program, which will provide comprehensive care to about 650 underserved children.

Ambassadors may be assigned to serve as clinic escorts, or in areas such as check-in/check-out, sterilization, photography, triage, education, entertainment and more.

Up to 10 travel grants will be awarded. State and local dental societies and community-based organizations providing oral health care for underserved children during GKAS will be considered. Applicants must reside within the U.S. 50 states.

For more information, email