ALPHARETTA, Ga., June 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- It only took six weeks for the nearly 200 team members of the Scheduling Institute to hit their goal of $20,000 to support an immediate need for the Soup Kitchen in La Carpio, Costa Rica, a far cry from the affluent town of Alpharetta, where the company's headquarters are located.
La Carpio is one of the poorest and most dangerous communities in Costa Rica. The town was established in the 1980s and 90s when thousands of Nicaraguan civil war refugees fled for safety. Over half of the rapidly increasing population lives below the poverty line with no formal employment. The inhabitants are mostly illegal immigrants and ignored by San Jose and Costa Rica governments. With an inadequate infrastructure, the children in this community are subject to the many byproducts of extreme poverty: Violence, drugs and prostitution.
Jay Geier, president and founder of the Scheduling Institute, the largest U.S. dental practice management consultant, has a soft spot for La Carpio. When he learned of the urgent need, he turned to his staff with a challenge to raise $10,000 in eight weeks. If they reached that goal, he would match their efforts. Six weeks following his initial challenge, the goal was met, and the funds doubled to $20,000.
"This is a tremendous blessing to the La Carpio community," said Patti Pease, co-founder of Costa Rican Mission Partners and good friend of Geier's. "The food that is served here is often the only meal the children will get during the day."
The Soup Kitchen in La Carpio was created by the local United Methodist Church's pastor James Cortez and his wife, Cristina. It operates five days a week, feeding mainly children. For two years, three local women have volunteered their time along with Cristina to run the kitchen. They serve up to 150 children a day.
The sudden need for funding was the result of governmental regulations mandating the three local volunteers who serve there be paid -- immediately. To maintain operations, money needed to be raised fast. Pease called on Geier for help.
Geier and Pease began their relationship with Costa Rica eight years ago when they went on a mission trip with their local church, Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church, in Johns Creek, Georgia. Several years later, Geier suggested Pease create a non-profit organization to help service some of the city's greatest needs, including dental care. She and her husband Ed formed the 501c3 Costa Rica Mission Partners to facilitate dental and medical mission teams to serve in Costa Rica.
The Scheduling Institute has more than 2,100 dental practice clients, so it made sense for Geier to get them on board. Three years ago, he decided to incorporate mission trips into his company's culture. He now encourages his top level clients – 5X members – to take their teams down to Costa Rica and donate their time and dental services to the many people in need. Since the first dental team trip in April 2014, 31 teams (153 team members) have traveled down, treating 1426 patients.
"When you do generous things, people are so touched and appreciative that it becomes positively addictive," Geier said. "This is a great opportunity for my clients and team to get on board, give, and really see the good their money is doing. I've been down there. It is such a tremendous need."
In August, Scheduling Institute will be sending its second non-dental team down to help out in the La Carpio Soup Kitchen and with The Abraham Project, a Christian non-profit organization in San Jose. The Abraham Project has built a church, children's homes and a daycare and offers professional consultation and vocational training. The first crew went down this past March.
The Scheduling Institute was founded in 1997 and quickly captivated the dental and medical specialty practices through its proven, innovative formula to increase new patients. Its expert training staff has been helping practices worldwide see their highest ever new patients and collections numbers through training, coaching and mentoring programs in practice growth management.
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SOURCE Scheduling Institute