I’ve known Howard Goldin for about 25 years. When I met him, he was Spring Valley’s Chief of Police, and he helped my kids do a science fair project on “the science of crime”. After he retired, he and his friend Ed Frank started sharing their experiences as combat (more…)
“You have to be open to different things if you want your life to evolve,” Ilana says, and her story is a perfect example of that. As owner of Ilana Perles Designs and co-owner of George and Perles Estate Sale Services, Ilana demonstrates versatility and talent. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that Ilana did most of the decorating in my house, including the design and remodel of my kitchen which I love. But Ilana is no ordinary decorator. When I worked with her, she used everything from her artistic talent to her love and knowledge of history to create the exact atmosphere I was going for. (more…)
“It feels like a new beginning!” Sheri grins, showing off her terrific smile. She’s not talking about her dental work – she’s referring to her new occupation. Sheri and her husband, video DJ Jeff Sherer, bring fun to senior centers and nursing homes. Jeff serves as the DJ and Sheri is the dancer. Together, they create a bright spot for their audience members, many of whom have uneventful and often lonely lives.
As scenes from musical performances and landmark events of eras gone by appear on a large screen, Jeff plays the music that takes his audience down “Memory Lane” while Sheri dances, “shmoozes” and invites people to join in. They have trivia contests where the audience gets a chance to win CDs from Jeff’s vast collection. It’s an extravaganza born from passion: a passion for music, and for caring. Sheri worked as a nurse for 30 years, fulfilling her innate need to nurture and care for others. Her partnership with Jeff is a fun, energetic way to express that same ability. (more…)
One topic that frequently comes up when chatting with patients is how Rockland County has changed over the years. “Life in Rockland today is a whole different ball game,” Gene Jackson says. And he should know. Gene was born in Suffern Hospital in 1943 and has lived in Rockland ever since. He grew up in Spring Valley and remembers that back then Rockland had many farms, and people would come to Spring Valley to vacation in hotels like Singer’s. Gene’s dad ran a landscaping business, Harry Jackson Landscaping. Gene remembers walking to school with his friends and coming home for lunch every day. He attended Spring Valley High School and has fond memories of an idyllic childhood. “It was safe to walk into town back then. We used to go all over the place by ourselves. If we got up to any mischief the police knew all our families and would just send us home to our parents.” (more…)
Tanya finds a free moment to talk to me as she’s putting the finishing touches on a speech she’ll be delivering to a group of interns next week on how to be successful in marketing.
“I’m trying to be careful and not sound like I’m full of myself, but they want me to talk about my successes,” she tells me, “I also want the chance to talk about Team Lifeline, I need to raise awareness whenever I can“. Twenty-nine years old, with seven years experience in marketing for the Assisted Living industry, Tanya was recently recruited to work as Marketing Director for Team Lifeline. The organization is an endurance training program that brings teams to destination races to raise money for its parent organization Chai Lifeline, a charity that benefits children with life threatening illnesses. Team Lifeline participants raise money through marathons 10K races and bike races all over the country. (more…)
“With all the technology we have today, people actually get disconnected,” Suzanne explains. “It’s a blessing and a curse. I’m using technology to reverse that.”
I’ve known Suzanne for about twenty-five years. She’s a high-energy mother of three who teaches full time. When she was doing her doctorate, she taught me the differences between auditory, visual, tactual and kinesthetic learning. I was surprised to stumble across her facebook page and contacted her to find out what it was about. (more…)
“I’m new to stand up, so I haven’t completely decided which direction to take with my material,” Vivian tells me as I scroll through pictures of her children and grandchildren on her phone. I’ve known Vivian for close to twenty years, watched her five amazing kids grow up in my practice, and I can tell you that she may be new to stand up, but she’s always had the gift of humor.
I first met Vivian when my daughter took her watercolor class, her talent and exuberance opening floodgates of creativity in her young students. Working out of her home as well as her studio in Nyack, Vivian produces vibrant colors and a whimsical style that echo her personality. Some of her work hangs in local eateries, and most recently she created the painting, “Prohibition River” as part of the Nyack Flash Sketch Mob. She’s also an amateur photographer with a keen eye and instinct for esthetics.
Vivian is a transplant from Asheville, North Carolina, the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her family was featured in Helen Epstein’s book “Children of the Holocaust” because of her sister’s performance at the Miss North Carolina pageant of Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude, the music played during Hitler’s invasion of Poland. When I ask her about the experience of having Epstein write about her family, Vivan says “Oh yeah, that writer dated my brother for a while!”
As Vivian describes her experience doing stand up at Levity, the local improv comedy club, and considers going to an open mic night, she makes frequent stops to read and respond to text messages from her kids. Her eldest daughter (married to a dentist!) is moving to a new home. How soon will she be there to help with the move and the grandkids? Her youngest, studying in Israel emails an apartment lease in Hebrew for her to decipher, her son who writes apps in California is on a hike and she worries about him taking enough safety precautions. Through it all, Viv keeps the dialogue going with all of us in stitches. Her banter is sometimes delivered in a series of accents with facial expressions to match.
I want to ask her more – about the photography, the comedy, see some paintings –but Vivian has to go. Time to help her daughter with the move. This is a woman who can create art in many forms, but her most valued creation is waiting for her in New Jersey with two kids and a moving truck.
My household has a tendency to attract a variety of guests and strangers. Whether they are friends of one of the kids or visitors just passing through, there is often an incongruous group of diners around our table. In response to this, we’ve developed the habit of doing “ice breakers” to help our guests to get to know each other and open the door to dinner conversation. One of our favorites is going around the table and having each person say something about themselves that no one would expect. We’ve had people own up to everything from plastic surgery to bungee jumping to a passion for watching reruns of The Golden Girls!
During my twenty-five years of private practice in Rockland County, I’ve often been reminded of these ice breakers, because as I’ve gotten to know my patients, I have found them remarkable, surprising and inspiring. I am a firm believer that in order to do a good job taking care of my patients’ dental needs, I need to get to know them and understand what role their smiles play in their lives. That’s why my motto has become, Your Smile Tells Your Story.
Discovering these things about patients has a practical purpose but it has also created relationships that make Dental Design of Rockland feel like a community. It’s what makes us look forward to going to work each day, and our patients have as much impact on our lives as we hope to have on theirs.
We’ve learned that many patients are involved in organizations, activities and businesses that improve the lives of others and bring something positive to the world. With so much negative information being disseminated all the time, I am motivated to share some of the positive and encouraging stories I’ve discovered. This will give you, my patients and readers, a chance to experience the Dental Design community that I enjoy spending my time with every day.
Log in and experience the difference ordinary people can make through their ideas, passions and contributions. You might be inspired to try something new, reach out to someone in your community, or support a worthwhile cause. But mostly, I think you’ll find, as I have, that our “smile stories” warm your hearts and create a bright spot in your day.
One last thing – if you have a story to tell, or a cause or project that you’d like us to write about, please let us know. We’re always excited to learn something new and share with others. Follow us on facebook to find out when new posts go up!
Many of my patients are parents of young adults and teens. Through the years, parents have shared their stories and concerns with me, and despite the variety in culture and background represented in my patient population, parents have certain concerns in common across the board. They worry that the emphasis on instant gratification in society, focused on the needs and desires of individuals, might be producing a generation of selfish offspring. They wonder if the fast-paced electronic world is a place where “old school” values of charity and social consciousness can thrive. They want to be reassured that their children will achieve, but will also care.
Enter Good St. This foundling company is the not-for-profit project of four college students, designed as a platform for giving. The approach is the brainchild of Joe, one of the four, who at the age of twenty-one had begun to earn some money, wanted to start giving charity but wondered if the small amount he could afford would make a difference. He felt bombarded by so many important causes demanding attention, that he worried he would get overwhelmed and freeze, resulting in not donating to anything. Additionally, it was important to him to develop the habit of a “daily act of goodness” increasing what Joe calls, “the significance of what we do.”
Launched with the slogan, “Do Good Every Day,” the group aims to “open the conversation” regarding the wide variety of important causes that exist, and the opportunities we have to contribute and help implement change. They use their knowledge of electronics and coding to make it easy to do. As a subscriber, I gave them information about how much I want to donate daily which can be as little as twenty-five cents a day. I get a daily email with a choice of two featured charities. They run the gamut of a broad range of causes including breast cancer research, education, human rights and hunger to name a few. All I have to do is read the short blurb of information about each charity and click on the charity of my choice. I can also view statistics and find out how much was donated to the charities from the day before. The whole thing takes a minute or two and I come out feeling good about myself.
In addition to donating, college students have been enthusiastically volunteering in an effort to promote what Good St. does and get people involved. They talk to people in New York City and on college campuses. They sell t-shirts bearing their slogan. They use social media to get the word out as well. The company hopes to grow to the point where they will have corporate sponsors who will match donations. They want to create a forum for people to help design the choices by recommending charities to include. It is a testament to their integrity that they struggle with the ethical dilemma of how much influence to exert. As Jeff, another of the officers described, they wonder how much guidance to provide. “Let’s say people overlook an important charity?”
Good St. is causing a sensation that is worth keeping alive. You don’t have to be twenty-something to participate. The message of doing small things to make a difference is worth spreading. So get started and join the movement to DO GOOD EVERY DAY!
Click here to get started https://www.goodst.org/
As I celebrate the start of my twenty-fifth year practicing dentistry in Rockland County, there’s a lot to look back on and be grateful for. I find myself wondering what I hope to see as I look back, and what I want to continue doing as I move forward. The answer I come up with every time is that what I value most are the relationships with my patients that have given me the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
Many of you are familiar with TED, the non-profit group dedicated to making a difference through sharing ideas. In fact, their slogan is “ideas worth spreading.” In writing this blog, my hope is to share ideas with my patients – and anyone else who finds this – that will make even a small difference, by helping them improve health, learn something new, or shed a little light on a new perspective. The photo, at the recent TEDx conference in Manhattan, was taken by my niece, Tamar, of me pretending to give a TED talk. For me it represents my desire to always continue to share and learn.
I’m attaching a link to a short TED talk about how small everyday actions can have a big impact on others. In it, Drew Dudley tells a story about how giving someone a lollipop made a big impression, and encourages us all to pay attention to our lollipop moments. Even as a dentist, I have to agree. So watch and enjoy, and let me know what you think!