15:08 PM

Team Peak Performers: Save a Smile/Center for Children’s Health


The Save a Smile/Center for Children’s Health Team are Team Peak Performer recipients for the first quarter of 2022 (October-December). Below is their nomination letter.

Team Peak PerformerOn October 21, 2021, the Save a Smile team, along with two volunteer dentists from our community, found themselves in a situation in which no one ever wants to be in.

During the school screening at MH Moore Elementary School, the school nurse ran into the auditorium (where our entire team was screening) asking for all doors to be closed and locked as the school was on “lock-in”. At that time, she said they could continue the screening, however, no one was allowed to leave the building and bathroom breaks were for emergencies only. She returned a short time later, explaining that this was not a drill, the school was on “lock in” status and she would pause bringing any new classes into the auditorium. However, 2-3 classes were already in the auditorium. Soon after, she returned explaining that the school was now on “lock down” status meaning potential harm was outside (not inside) the building, however, they could still be in danger. Screenings stopped at that point, she turned off all the lights in the auditorium, and asked everyone to sit on the ground in silence. Another administrator entered and asked everyone to move to the stage, close the curtains and sit on the floor in silence. This included Save a Smile staff, dentists and approximately 60-70 children. The children were scared, some crying and some asking for their parents. 

About 45 minutes later, they were given the “all clear” and asked to resume the screening. It was safe to leave the building after the screening was complete. All staff appeared to remain calm throughout the entire ordeal and assisted the children in remaining quiet, still and calm.  Everyone was fine and handled the situation extremely well.

Later the school RN explained that there was a man outside shooting a gun nearby and the middle school next door could hear the shots. The police arrived and the shooter barricaded himself, where if shots were exchanged the school was in range. Fortunately he was never inside either of the schools and once he was apprehended, the team was given the all clear.

I cannot explain in words how proud I am of my team. They were "super heroes" on that day and were able to look these children in the face with comforting eyes to let them know and feel they were safe with them. Every one of these ladies live our Promise each and every day and do it without even trying! The true definition of team work at its finest!

In a world that is so crazy, it is moments like this that remind us all of how blessed we are to be a part of an amazing team that does incredible work and exudes the Promise knowing every child's life is sacred.

This team works cohesively on a daily basis connecting children and their families to the resources they most desperately need. This team, together, hit two milestones this year with Save a Smile: 100,000 children in our community have received a dental screening and an oral health kit to help address any potential oral health needs; a huge accomplishment has occurred with now over $10 million in free dental services have been provided for the children served by Save a Smile. Our Community Health Workers (CHWs) coordinate the care and services these children need, while doing it all with a serving heart and with the Cook Children's Promise to drive their passion.