The Contribution Game

“Drawing closer, he sees that the beach around her is littered with starfish, and she is throwing them one by one into the sea.  He lightly mocks her : “There are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see, for miles up the beach. What difference can saving a few of them possibly make?”  Smiling, she bends down and once more tosses a starfish out over the water, saying serenely, “It certainly makes a difference to this one.”

When you play the contribution game, it is never a single individual who is transformed. The transformation overrides the divisions of identity and possession that are the architecture of the measurement model, recasting the tight pattern of scarcity into a widespread array of abundance.”

~ Rosamond and Benjamin Zander, authors of The Art of Possibilities

Dr. Keiko Wada and her team at Opalesque Dentistry embrace the concepts of the contribution game within and outside of their local community of Gig Harbor, Washington. Dr. Wada and her dental assistant, Jeni, and her dental hygienist, Terrie, recently returned from Guatamala where they contributed time, skills, care and hugs to a population of children and adults in dire need of dental treatment.

In the impoverished town of Peronia, Guatamala the North American based Open Wide Foundation conceived of and built a sustainable dental clinic. The Foundation's mission is to make a significant measurable and lasting change in the state of oral hygiene in impoverished communities. Their goal is to establish a fully sustainable dental clinic in poor communities within five years. The foundation facilitates sustainability by requiring the local community to provide employees and by continued funding and promotion by the ‘Man Comunidad’, the Mayors of Guatamala. This collaboration between Guatamala and the Open Wide Foundation has generated two fully sustainable dental clinics, one in its third year of development and one to be inaugurated soon.

Already in its fourth year, the Peronia dental clinic employs two local assistants, two administrators and two local part-time dentists. The clinic also serves as a facility for senior dental students to advance their clinical and treatment planning skills.

Together, Dr. Wada, dental assistant Jeni and her dental hygienist Terrie worked with local dental students, dentists and staff to contribute much needed dental care to the lines of patients. While working side by side with the Peronia dental team, Dr. Wada was able to share her clinical knowledge and experience with the local dentists, dental students and staff.

“To embrace the act of contribution and to then live it transforms the way we see others and how we perceive ourselves in a world of measurable abundance. Giving of our time, knowledge, skills and kindness to those in need fills us with unmeasurable abundance.”

~ Dr. Keiko Wada

Photography courtesy of fellow clinician, Dr. YaoLin Tang, and volunteer, Jonna Kurucz