Transformation Starts Within Us

Daily we are blown away by the group of passionate, talented, and committed individuals who have come together to chase this wild and crazy vision of transforming lives and communities through dental care. Our team of staff and volunteers in the U.S., Haiti, and Uganda are some of the most dedicated people you will ever meet.

Take Harold for example.


Harold is a dental assistant for Hope Smiles in Uganda. He’s been on our team for about a year now.

When he first joined, many of Harold’s friends didn’t think it would last. They were only half-joking when they told Dr. Ryan, our Uganda Director, “He is a great guy, but he is soooooo slow in everything he does. That’s how he’s always been, and that’s how he is always going to be.” 

And, to be honest, during his first month working with us, Dr. Ryan saw exactly what they were talking about. While Harold was friendly, he seemed to lack passion and drive, doing just enough to get by. But he kept showing up. And in doing so, he kept observing our more experienced team members. He saw the joy in their relationships with our patients, and he learned from not only their technical skills but also their work ethic and passionate attitude. 


As time went on, Harold truly took command of his role within our team. In addition to his other responsibilities, he now also runs the front desk, organizes inventory, leads educational seminars, and is a force of positivity and encouragement, inspiring patients towards a better life.

Driven and passionate and dedicated are now the words used to describe Harold! Even his friends see the difference and are amazed (and motivated!) by the transformation in his life. 

A few weeks ago, Dr. Ryan asked him what changed. Harold paused for a few seconds and then an enormous smile spread across his face.

“I love what we do,” he said. “I see changes in the lives we touch. I’ve seen that we are really a family here at Hope Smiles, and that has connected with my heart. Now I am passionate about work.”

The transformation we seek to bring to our patients must always start in us first. As our team grows in hope and compassion and commitment, they lead from the overflow of their hearts and their collective impact increases.

It never gets old, this ripple-effect of life change that we get to witness every single day. It never gets old…

Gradi Ellis