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giving back

The Donor: Michael Carabash

The Gift: Joining Canadian dentists with Jamaica's 1000 Smiles Project

The Reason: To help impoverished people get dental care

Michael Carabash was attending an awards ceremony last year in Toronto when he heard a presentation by a dentist who had volunteered extensively in developing countries.

The dentist, Dr. Tim Milligan, said it had been the experience of his lifetime, recalled Mr. Carabash, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in legal work for dentists. "I thought, damn, I need one of those."

A few months later, Mr. Carabash was on a holiday in Jamaica with his family when he struck up a conversation with Joseph Wright, an American who co-founded Great Shape!, a non-profit organization in Jamaica that works with the Sandals Foundation. Great Shape! runs a program called 1000 Smiles Project which brings in dentists from the United States and Britain as volunteers to provide free dental care to people in impoverished neighbourhoods.

When he returned home, Mr. Carabash began recruiting people to join the project, and 45 dentists, hygienists and support staff have volunteered. The group is heading to Jamaica for two weeks in August and Mr. Carabash has received donations from several dental supply companies. He is hoping to take an even larger group next year, including some dental students.

"It's a dream come true," he said.