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Thank you for your interest in Simply Smiles! We invite you to explore our projects in Oaxaca, Mexico and on the Cheyenne River Reservation, as well as volunteer opportunities in these locations.

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East Norwalk, CT
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Dedicated to building bright futures for impoverished children, their families, and their communities.

Simply Smiles blog

Follow our blog and read insights from Simply Smiles staff, volunteers and other individuals whose lives are affected by our work!

First Update from Oaxaca

Timothy Nurnberger

Hola from Oaxaca! This is Emma, Sam, and Zach checking in from our Center of Operations to let you know how our pre-season group preparation is coming along. Our updates are not quite as exciting as a cross-country trip in the #bigredbus, but we did journey into the jungle for a bit...so take that, South Dakota crew!

Last week started out with some manual labor, as we helped our maestros level the ground for the new adoquín outdoor tile, which the first groups of the summer will lay down. (The maestros did the majority of the work, we just hauled away some dirt for a while.)

The week has been filled with many shopping trips to make sure our volunteers have everything they need during their time here. Yesterday we finished buying all of the non-perishables for the first few groups. Behold the well-stocked shelves in our kitchen:

After Hurricane Carlotta hit the southern Mexican coast at the end of last week, we wanted to check in with our friends in Santa María to assess the damage. We departed Thursday and spent two days there. We saw lots of fallen trees, but for the most part, families are finding ways to rebuild after the storm. Fortunately, no one was injured.

While we were there, we took some time to organize the new dormitory, and spent time visiting with friends. We even saw one of the puppies that we brought to our friends in the jungle last summer. Pinqui (Pinky) loves his new owner, Martín:

We also helped Elute and Javier lift three 200-kilo logs that will be used as horcones (wooden posts) to add extra support to the new palapa thatched-roof despensa building.  It was literally one of the heaviest things we’d ever lifted:

The despensa on July 6 with the group from St. Luke’s School and Rangitoto College in New Zealand will be great!

We’re also VERY excited that we have secured the land to build the new junior high school in Santa María. There will be no shortage of work for volunteers over the next few weeks!

We look forward to going back to Santa María on Thursday to make some final preparations for the group’s arrival. We’ll check back with updates soon!