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In their own words:
Volunteers share the rewards of their Honduran experience.
The Volunteer Experience: Programs
"I cannot wait to return to Honduras and have another wonderful experience."
My wife and I had the opportunity to serve with Dr. Spomer, Dr. Jose, Dra. Gloria, and Dr. Sharon on a volunteer trip to Honduras in November 2017. We were able to help many children with their dental needs. It was an amazing opportunity to travel to another country and experience the culture and life in a small village. We loved meeting the incredible people and working alongside great volunteers to accomplish so much good. In addition, John was able to build some furniture for a family and provide some much-needed home essentials. John's wife, Cathy, helped Dr. Joe Sharon as an assistant and my wife, Lisa, was able to be an assistant for me. We enjoyed the country, the people, the food, and learning how to best help those in another part of the world. I cannot wait to return to Honduras and have another wonderful experience.
--Dr. Jeremy Larson
"We realized that we were the ones who received, not the ones who gave."
Pam and I first volunteered to go to Honduras after talking to Dr. John Spomer. We just volunteered as an adventure. We experienced helping the children and saw the love and care these children had from their parents..no matter how poor.., and teachers. We got to bask in the reflected light that Dr. Jose and Dra. Gloria bring to the lives of those they serve. By the end, we realized that we were the ones who received, not the ones who gave. And so we returned again and yet again."
"The children and their families were all so appreciative of our service there."
I heard about this opportunity when Dr. Spomer visited my dental clinic in Boardman about 7 years ago. Since then I made it a goal to go and help with dental work there. I finally got the chance to travel with the group to Honduras in November 2017. I was so impressed with the organization and effort put forth to make sure our experience was a positive one. Helping the children in El Naranjal was great! The children and their families were all so appreciative of our service there. We were well fed and our sleeping accommodations set a high standard. Dental materials and instruments were sufficient. I actually expected to be working with less than what we had."
--Dr. Joe Sharon
"Today there will be kids who can go to bed without tooth pain..."
Dr. Spomer, Dra. Gloria, and Dr. Jose work tirelessly to help the kids of Honduras.They educate kids and their teachers on dental care and nutrition and spend hours in the clinic taking care of their dental needs.They document all treatment that was done, they keep the equipment in working order and work hard to help all the volunteers help their kids. At the end of the day, I might be tired from the physical work, but I'm inspired by all the team members around me that have worked hard all day to make sure all the kids were taken care of. In the clinic we try to keep the mood light, Dr. Spomer playing some upbeat background music, the low hum of fans running to keep us cool, Dra. Gloria's soothing voice as she speaks to calm the children, light laughter coming from Dr. Jose's fun sense of humor, the low hiss of the sterilizer in continuous cycles. It moves me to smile and at the same time, I feel sad....sad that these kids have such dental neglect but hopeful that today there will be kids who can go to bed without tooth pain and are able to concentrate at school better.
"The team worked so well together and were so patient with me as a newbie".
We volunteered at a large grade school. Dra. Gloria would educate the children first about teeth hygiene. She was so good at explaining everything and demonstrating. I don’t speak much Spanish, but I could follow what she was telling them. Then we would see the children. The team worked so well together and were so patient with me as a newbie. I assisted John and learned so much. We worked beside a dental hygienist and frequently exchanged patients. The hygienist would refer extractions and fillings to us, and we would give the less complicated (cases) that needed sealants to her. Many of the children were initially scared of getting in the chair but usually calmed down and were thankful for our work, and the toy they could pick after being seen helped.
"Those three dentists are amazing people...super kind and loving to me and my son as well as to the children we served."
I accompanied Dr. Spomer and his team with my son Kale to San Juancito, Honduras, in late 2021. It was an incredible experience and by far surpassed my expectations. I worked with local Doctors Gloria, Jose and Gustavo to service the dental needs of the children in San Juancito. Those three dentists are amazing people. They were super kind and loving to me and my son as well as to the children we served. I feel particularly honored and privilege to have met and been associated with them for a week, as well as with Dr. Spomer and his team. My son served as my dental assistant and had an experience he will never forget. It was as much a cultural experience as it was a service one. As others have expressed, I too felt like I received more that I gave. I can't wait until I am able to go back.
--Julian Petersen, DDS
"Everything was completely different compared to my life in the states."
Going to a place like San Juancito, Honduras, is something I will never forget. Everything was completely different compared to my life in the states. People had small humble homes and very little material possessions. Yet when we arrived, they couldn't care less about their needs. Every one we met was friendly and wanted to know more about us. I was so happy to serve the people of Honduras and gain this incredible experience. Thank you to Dr. Spomer, Mr. Tom, Miss Kathy, Dr. Gustavo, Dra. Gloria, Dr. Jose, and Mrs. Emelina for being a part of this trip and coming into my life.
The Volunteer Experience: Text
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