Georgetown Volunteers Once Again Gives Kids a Smile

Posted on September 11th, 2013

Imagine the frustration of being unable to afford basic health care, eye glasses, medications or counseling for your child.  It is the harsh reality of many families in Georgetown County.  A third of the children in Georgetown County live in poverty.  For many low-income parents taking time from work to attend a child’s health care appointment may equate to loss of income.  These undiagnosed and untreated barriers make concentration hard if not impossible for the child.  They become disengaged, fall behind in their studies and feel both socially and academically incompetent.

Healthy Learners Georgetown is committed to transforming the access to health care for children in Georgetown County so that the children will be healthy and better able to learn. One of the primary strengths of Healthy Learners comes from the many partners and collaborative arrangements with other service agencies.  Since the Georgetown program began serving children, less than five years ago, Healthy Learners Georgetown has built partnerships with twenty schools and over 40 medical and dental providers.

The health care services provided by Healthy Learners are critical to academic and social development. Although poor vision and inadequate hearing hurt a child’s performance, they seldom hurt in the literal sense of the word.  Tooth decay is different.   According to the 16th Surgeon General of the United States, an estimated 51 million school hours per year are lost because of dental related illness.


Healthy Learners Georgetown offers a special thank you to those dental care professionals who worked with the Give A  Kid  A Smile Day Program (GAKS) in an effort to prevent dental related illness.  In partnership with Horry-Georgetown Technical College, Healthy Learners Georgetown participated in the Give  A   Kid  A Smile Program (GAKS) at the end of 2012-2013  school year.  Volunteer community dentists and Horry-Georgetown Technical College partner to provide free dental care to many children who otherwise would not be able to afford dental care.  The children were identified by their school nurse and Healthy Learners provided the transportation and coordination of care for the children.  The services rendered included oral hygiene instruction, exams, cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants and restorative care. Several Healthy Learners Georgetown County dental providers volunteered their services in the GAKS program.  The collaborative efforts of Doctors Timmy Joseph, Anna Ferrer, Barbra Todd, Meredith and Nick Papadea and Lindsay Moore provided pro bono dental care to children in need.

Healthy Learners Georgetown, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, served 862 students with 4,191 services since the program began in January 2009.  “We could not have been successful in this effort without all of our health care  providers,” said Rebecca Lammonds, coordinator, Healthy Learners Georgetown.  “We thank them all for the way in which they have consistently served the children.”  For more information, contact Rebecca Lammonds, RN, BSN at (843)-436-7020.