Welvista donates new vehicles to three school districts for its smiles for a lifetime program

May 16, 2023

Welvista, a nonprofit organization that helps uninsured and underserved South Carolinians gain access to essential health services, donated new vehicles to three school districts in rural South Carolina for its Smiles for a Lifetime (SMILES) program. SMILES, a division of Welvista, is a school-based children’s dental program that provides preventive and restorative services to children in grades K-12 in rural South Carolina counties.

As valued partners to the SMILES program, school districts in Allendale, Clarendon and Hampton County each received a brand new vehicle from Welvista. With the donation of these new vehicles, each school district will be able to efficiently transport children to the SMILES dental center in its region.

“Oral health problems, such as cavities, are a consistent problem for children in rural counties. In fact, about half of all cavities go untreated among children that come from low-income households,” says Georgia Famuliner, chief operations officer of SMILES. “We partner with licensed dentists and hygienists from around the state to provide preventive and restorative services to children in these areas — and transportation is a key part of these services.”

Since 2001, SMILES has provided services to more than 20,000 children and performed over 120,000 restorative services. The program operates during school hours, provides transportation for the children and there is never an out-of-pocket cost for these services. Dental services for the SMILES program include:

  • Dental cleaning and examinations
  • X-rays
  • Fluoride Treatments
  • Sealants
  • Restorative services (fillings)
  • Crowns (stainless steel)
  • Extractions
  • Oral hygiene education.

“Welvista prides itself on advancing the wellness of South Carolina’s most vulnerable populations and our SMILES program plays a pivotal role in that mission,” said Juanita Wright, chief executive officer of Welvista. “Nothing shines brighter than a child’s smile — and it’s our mission to make sure that smile is a healthy one.”

Individuals interested in enrolling an eligible student from a participating district can complete the SMILES Parent Consent Form. For more information about the SMILES program, visit https://www.welvista.org/childrens-dentistry/.


About Welvista

Welvista is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that advances the health and wellness of uninsured and underserved residents in South Carolina. Founded in 1991, Welvista provides free life-saving medications to uninsured residents living with chronic illness and essential dental services to underserved children in the state’s most rural areas. To learn more or to donate, call 803-933-9183 or visit www.welvista.org. Follow Welvista on Facebook at www.facebook.com/welvista or Instagram at @welvistasc.