Here in the U.S., many young professionals’ and new parents’ five-year plans include goals like “pay off car,” “save down payment on house,” and “take trip to Hawai’i.” Imagine if we collectively readjusted our focus so our five-year plans sounded more like “make a positive difference for others” and “improve access to quality health care for children around the world.” Really. Imagine that. Take a moment. We’ll wait for you to return before continuing.
Back? Great. Check this out.
Mandee and Cam didn’t wait around for the rest of us to get on board with this imagined collective shift of attention and resources. After a humanitarian mission to Guatemala in 2010 during which Cam aided children who were dealing with such dental pain, swelling, and oral infection that they could not eat, play, or enjoy life, he and his wife Mandee decided to take matters into their own hands. They set in motion a plan to move their entire family to rural Guatemala for a year to provide free dental care to the children living there.
Photos care of Mandee QuayleUnable to find an existing nonprofit organization that would sponsor their work, Mandee and Cam founded Mason Gives, dedicated to improving the oral health of children throughout the world. And thanks to large corporate donations of equipment and supplies as well as small monetary donations from community members, 100% of money raised by Mason Gives goes to serving children. First stop: rural Guatemala.
Photos care of Victoria Waite
How do they take their dental practices on the road? Mandee explains, “We have obtained access to portable dental units, dental chairs, and dental supplies that are entirely mobile. We can quickly set up a complete dental treatment area that can provide comprehensive dental care anywhere we have a power outlet.” Because they want their educational efforts to continue after their portable dental clinics have moved on to the next area of need, they are filming and editing oral hygiene videos taught by locals both in Spanish and the Mayan languages of Cakchiquel and Tz’utujil.
Mandee shares, “We have been inspired by many people in our lives who have had the courage to follow their dreams. This is our dream: to step into countries, villages, and orphanages that are in need and utilize our skills to improve the quality of their lives. We know improving oral health won’t solve all of their problems, but we are happy to help solve the challenges we can. So many people called us ‘crazy,’ ‘suicidal,’ or ‘idealistic.’ We didn’t let skeptics stop our goals and our plan. We took a year off from our professional lives to share our talents and education. Can you imagine a world where every family did this?”
If you want to experience first-hand this life-changing opportunity of serving others, you can participate in one of Mason Gives’ dental humanitarian missions in Guatemala. If you want PLAE to financially support Mason Gives’ efforts, you can use checkout code GIVE708 and 10% of your purchase price will go directly to Mason Gives. You can also find Mason Gives on Facebook and Instagram.