Talents, Time, and Treasures
The Three Wise Men of Service
Long ago in 2004, our firm’s CEO, Neil O’Connor, approached me about becoming a part of a service organization called “Rotary International.” I, like many, have been greeted by the “Rotary Wheel” that is displayed upon entering countless cities across the USA; but I didn’t have a clue about what Rotary did. With a heavy sigh, I agreed to join the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano, knowing that I could always quit and pass that baton back to Neil.
Well, after six years, I love being a part of the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano. We do so many great service events for the people of the city. Seeing the faces of happy children, grateful parents and appreciative civic leaders makes me feel proud of being involved with something so special and rewarding. Serving people through Rotary has become a well-defined part of my life.
On February 25, 2012 we hosted Dr. Harris Done, his teaching associates and their USC dental students. What did they do? Well, they provided dental care to sixty-five under-privileged students and some parents, from San Juan Elementary School.
The students and families are low-income, mostly Spanish-speaking kids whose parents came to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. They are great, lovable kids who all, even through a few tears, truly appreciated the dental care provided by Dr. Done and his team.
What I love about Dr. Done’s dental clinic is that everyone involved is so passionate about serving the kids from San Juan Elementary School. They see their time as wisely invested and their talents greatly appreciated, especially by these families that cannot pay for their services.
I asked Dr. Done what motivates his student volunteers to participate in his dental clinics. Here are some reasons for service:
- Experience. Experience. Experience. The students benefit from putting in the time practicing the dental techniques that they have and are learning. By the time a typical student volunteer finishes their “time of service” with Dr. Done, they will have worked on 50-70 patients. This experience pumps up their confidence as they move closer to graduation and life as a dentist.
- Camaraderie. The teachers and students share their passion as they along side each other; like-minded dental students enjoying their work. They show their care for the work that they do as they coach and encourage each other through each patient’s dental needs.
- Making a Difference in Lives. Each student volunteer believes that they are making a profound difference to that individual child’s overall well-being. To see the student volunteers receive hugs and kisses from these grateful kids was a testament to the service they provided with genuine care.
- Culture Experience. Those student volunteers who also travel with Dr. Done to other countries experience a culture and lifestyle that is foreign to their own. They realize how much need exists beyond our own borders and they understand that they can make a difference anywhere where there is need,
For years, our Rotary Club has sponsored the clinic with our money, volunteer time, food and facilities. Everyone is cared for and everyone is served. There is a wonderful synergy that is created when good deeds are performed with joy and care.
I loved watching these young men and women, our future dentists, dental hygienists and orthodontists, work as a team as they perfected their skills and shared smiles throughout the day.
Rotary International’s motto is “Service Above Self.” This event was another testament to that motto. With these opportunities for service come so many opportunities to say, “Thank You.” Thank you to all of us who believe in “Service Above Self” and take the necessary action to make a difference.
Learn about Dr. Harris Done at www.smilesforall.net/ayuda.
Why do you think people choose to use their time, talents and treasure to support different avenues of service?
What do you choose to do?