SERVING Hometown Living At Its Best 45 possible without Dr. Darby’s oversight. “He is the kingpin that makes it possible,” said Dr. Nancy Stanley. Augusta University School of Dentistry requires senior dental students to work off campus for eight weeks. The Dental Clinic is one of 30 clinics across Georgia where students can work a two-week rotation. “Dr. Grayson Griffis,” said Dr. Darby, “came to the Dental Clinic a year ago to work a two-week rotation as a senior student and returned to us last fall to work as part-time staff.” Dr. Darby’s passion for community service is not limited to the dental needs of the indigent. It was actually his “Adopt a Teacher” program that first got my attention. I have family members and many close friends who teach in our community, and I consider the place they hold in the lives of our children to be critical in helping our children reach their potential. It all began for Dr. Darby one Sunday when members of his church were asked to donate for teachers. “Because of budget cuts, teachers in our community had to purchase their own school supplies,” said Dr. Darby. These were our schools, our children, our teachers, and for that reason, he felt it was our responsibility as a community to step up. But what was the best way to help? Simply bringing random items to put in a box was not going to cut it. “Whenever I had a problem, I met with my office team for input. My idea was to call a teacher and ask what she needed. Then I would do my best to meet those needs. My receptionist, Joy Page, said, ‘Why don’t you issue a challenge to the community to adopt a teacher?’” It was a brilliant plan. “Now I had a goal,” said Dr. Darby. Although he had several patients who were teachers, he immediately thought of Kaysi Beverly, the music teacher at Sally D. Meadows Elementary. When he called and asked if she could give him a list of expenses for her classroom for the upcoming school year, she said, “Dr. Darby, you’ve made a mistake. You shouldn’t have picked a music teacher to adopt. It will take $180 to buy a music score so we can have something to perform,” which she had fully intended to pay out of pocket. “I went to the school and gave her $200 in cash with the children watching,” said Dr. Darby. “It wasn’t for my own aggrandizement. The important thing is for us to develop a relationship between someone in the business community and someone in the school. We’ve got to let them know they have support out here.” “The financial donation to support music at Sally D. Meadows,” said Mrs. Beverly, “has been an incredible blessing. These supplies have enriched my classroom and the students’ experience with music. I was able to purchase recorder method books and recorders for about 10 of my students who were not financially able to purchase their classroom supplies. Those 10 students used their the Community Dr. Darby partnered with the Mercy Medical Clinic, Meadows Regional Medical Center, Georgia Health Sciences University, East Georgia Healthcare Center and Southeastern Technical College to advance the Compassionate Care Dental Clinic. This clinic provides services to those who are often dealing with dental pain because they cannot afford dental care. It also allows dental students an opportunity to complete their required rotations. Dr. Grayson Griffis (pictured below with Dr. Darby) was one such student who has recently returned as a part time staff member.
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