Operation H.O.P.E. Provides Dental Services for Paying It Forward

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November 29, 2011; Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal  |  An innovative nonprofit in Las Vegas is combining the provision of complimentary health services with the inspiration to help others.

Operation H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everywhere) Inc. is a nonprofit that offers medical and dental services to low-income and homeless individuals. In exchange for these free services, the organization asks patients to do a good deed for at least three people over a three-month period, and then write to the organization about the experience.

Operation H.O.P.E. depends on volunteer healthcare professionals from the University of Nevada, the Las Vegas School of Nursing, and others to keep its three clinics going. The clinics also get support from local organizations and faith-based groups like the International Church of Las Vegas, which supply volunteers and mentors, and Trinity Life Church, which generously offers free rent and utilities to Operation H.O.P.E.’s main clinic. Sounds like Operation H.O.P.E. is successfully partnering with community organizations to provide essential resources for the clinics.

For Dr. David Ting, who runs one of H.O.P.E.’s dental clinics, “. . . knowing patients have actually gone out and helped other people keeps us going . . . As a medical care professional, I consider it a privilege to not only treat others’ diseases but also their hearts. I wouldn’t trade this for any other job out there.” Since Operation H.O.P.E. opened, in March 2009, the organization has been able to help over 700 people, and founder Elliot Shin is planning on expanding the medical clinics’ hours to every day of the week.

This nonprofit’s use of “positive peer pressure” to increase civic engagement reminds me of a story Kathi Jaworski covered about a good deed in an Oregon dinerthat led to a “four-hour marathon of kindness.” NPQ looks forward to hearing about the inspirational stories of action in the community motivated by Operation H.O.P.E.—Aine Creedon

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