Every once in a while, during the course of a regular work day at the Friendship Centers I am confronted with our mission, up close and personal. I step away from phones, email, paper and files and look people in the eyes.
This morning as I walked through the dental clinic, it moved me to tears. I had the pleasure of walking into a treatment room where there were laughs and smiles and hugs. No anesthesia or drilling today. Instead, it was fitting day for the new dentures for thankful patient, Arlene Ross, a singer who goes by the stage name Chaz Pink. She had lost her confidence and her ability to smile.
You see, she was missing some of her front teeth. It made it nearly impossible for her to work any job, especially in her chosen field -- entertainment. The physiology of tongue against teeth creates the diction and resonance for vocals.
Without teeth, Chaz was a songbird without music.
Her heroes: The volunteers at the Friendship Centers' dental clinic are retired professionals -- endodontists, oral surgeons, dentists, hygienists and dental assistants -- all driven by their dedication and passion for helping their fellow human beings. The team who helped Chaz rediscover her smile were Dr. Edward Harod, Dr. Matt Brown and dental assistant, Martha Rebello.
As she held the mirror and reflected on herself, she said, "This makes all the difference in my confidence! I feel so much better about myself. You are miracle workers!"
Work is work is work. Then there are those days, like today, when I'm reminded of the People Helping People motto...and the Mission to promote health, dignity and quality of life along the journey of aging.
We did that for Chaz! That's something to smile about, for all of us.
About Erin McLeod
Erin McLeod is the Senior VP for the Friendship Centers and devotes her time to advocating and raising money to support the many programs and services offered through the 40+ year nonprofit. She enjoys working with older adults. Her grandmother lived to be 102 and she has a very close friend who is 101½.
Photo Credit: E. McLeod