GKAS kickoff

The 2024 Give Kids A Smile Ohio kickoff event took place at Butler Tech Bioscience Center in West Chester on Feb. 9.

The 2024 Give Kids A Smile Ohio kickoff event took place at Butler Tech Bioscience Center in West Chester on Feb. 9.

“This program unites community resources and collaborates with local dentists, dental volunteers, dental societies and the Ohio Dental Association to extend these services to underserved children who have not seen a dentist before,” said ODA President Dr. Manny Chopra.

At the kickoff event, volunteer dentists and dental assisting students from Butler Tech provided $4,500 worth of care including radiographs, exams, fluoride treatment and prophylaxis to about 22 fifth-grade students from Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. Butler Tech students also provided dental and health education to the fifth-graders.

“The Give Kids A Smile Event is a highlight opportunity for our program. Our students get to work with a local dentist and their team, so they get to know people, they get to know the field and they get to know if this is the direction they’d like to go. That is invaluable for all of our students,” said Dr. Abbie Cook, principal of the Butler Tech Bioscience Center. “All of that is just amazing by itself, but when you get to do something in service to others, it means so much more. So we are very excited to be part of this program where free dental care for these fifth-graders is provided.”

Special guests at the event included Sen. George Lang, and several local news stations covered the event. Lang commended the students and volunteers and specifically thanked the ODA for its efforts not just advancing member dentists but leveraging its position to care for those in need.

“This is one of those cases where everyone benefits from the program we’re doing. Most importantly we get to help the kids at Rosa Parks Elementary get screenings and hopefully get any needed work that they have done,” said Dr. Michael Vorherr who helps organize the Keely Dental Society event at Butler Tech. “It helps the students because they get a chance to work with dentists and work in real-world, real-life situations with the patients. And lastly it works for us because we get to promote dentistry to people that are interested in a career and we get to help other people.”

Through the Give Kids A Smile program, created by the American Dental Association, dentists and dental professionals across the state and nation volunteer their time throughout the year to provide screenings, treatments and oral health education to children.

“For some children, Give Kids A Smile marks their initial contact with a dentist, so this presents an opportunity for us to cultivate a positive dental experience and instill the significance of maintaining good oral health and regular dental visits. Oral health significantly influences overall wellbeing, and we aim to guide children towards establishing healthy oral care habits,” Chopra said.

In 2024, more than 1,698 volunteers plan to donate more than $976,862 in oral health care and education to more than 32,154 children in Ohio.

For information about planning a Give Kids A Smile event and to register an event, visit