Skinner’s Dental Project

The following article on Partners members Ruthi and Rankin Skinner appeared in Perspectives, a quarterly magazine published by The University of Kentucky            College of Dentistry.

Rankin Skinner was just a young boy working on his grandfather’s farm when the spirit of volunteerism and helping his neighbors was first instilled in him, as he saw neighbors helping neighbors as needed sowing, growing and harvesting crops.

Skinner, a 1969 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, has dedicated his life – and his passion for dentistry to the people of Kentucky and far beyond.

“I learned you can’t just be involved in your own life, you have to help out others in need,” Skinner said. “A life of service is where you are happiest and it’s a part of my life.”

Skinner’s career in dentistry began with the U.S. Navy right after graduation from the College of Dentistry until he went into private practice in Winchester, Kentucky in 1971. Over the course of the past 40 years, Skinner has been actively involved with countless volunteer organizations, including Partners of the Americas, since 1985.

Partners of the Americas is an international network that connects individuals, volunteers, institutions, businesses and communities to serve others through lasting partnerships. Currently, Partners has 120 volunteer chapters linked in 60 partnerships. Chapters in the U.S. form partnerships with chapters in countries or states in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each chapter is a private, non-profit institution that works to improve the quality of life of others. One such U.S. chapter is the Kentucky/ Ecuador Partners.

In 2002, Skinner and his fellow volunteers with Partners started the Kentucky/Ecuador Dental Sealant Project, working with 15 clinics in the capital city of Quito and another 15 clinics in Ibarra and surrounding communities. Ibarra is Winchester, Kentucky’s Sister City.

Dental decay in Ecuador is in the 85 percent range. In the United States, the national average is 22 percent and in Kentucky it is about 50 percent, with significantly higher rates in some areas. The goal of the Kentucky/ Ecuador Partner Sealant Project is to significantly improve children’s dental health through education, regular cleanings, and fluoride varnish and dental sealant application.

Skinner’s group hastrained 65 dentists to place sealants and later, fluoride varnish in each of these cities. They provided the material and the government dentists placed it and created a partnership with participating schools, local governments and most importantly, parents. After five years, a dramatic 50 -78 percent drop in decay was noted, from responding clinics.

Skinner’s volunteer work with Partners of the Americas is acually a family affair that involves his wife, Ruthi; their son and daughter-in-law, Ian and Jill; their daughter and son-in-law, Erin and David Smith; and Rankin’s brother and sister-in-law, Donnie and Roberta. The family was honored as the FamilyAward Winners for 2009 by United Way of the

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Ecuadorian Education Abroad Scholarship Awarded to Jazmine Shoup

Miss Jazmine Shoup

“I plan to become fully immersed in the culture and lifestyles of the Ecuadorian people, and am so excited to be given this opportunity!”

We are pleased to announce the 2012 Ecuadorian Education Abroad Scholarship has been awarded to Jazmine Shoup, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky. Jazmine, an Elementary Education major, will be traveling with the UK Honors Program lead by Kentucky Ecuador Partners Education chair, Dr. Larry Grabau.   For 2 weeks beginning in May, she along with 11 other members of the Honors Program, will travel throughout Ecuador visiting Quito, Santo Domingo, Tena, Mindo, Cotacachi, and Otavalo, among other places. The trip is designed to introduce the students to culture, environment, language, indigenous communities, food, and overall atmosphere of the Ecuadorian life style.
Following the Honors Tour, Jazmine plans to spend an additional two weeks working with the organization Compassion International. She will be living with an Ecuadorian family and helping in the home country office coordinating youth sponsorships, as well as helping with youth activities sponsored by Compassion in Quito.
Kentucky-Ecuador Partners awards one $500 scholarship each year. This is the 3rd one that has been awarded.   The purpose of the scholarship is to support study abroad in Ecuador, and to increase awareness of the Kentucky-Ecuador Partners of the Americas program among a new generation of students.  The scholarship honors Ronn Padgett (1946-2004) who was devoted to the mission of Kentucky-Ecuador Partners.  Ronn served the organization as President, member of the Board of Directors, and as chair of numerous committees.  Factors taken into consideration for eligibility include academic achievement, financial need, GPA, relevance of the Ecuador program to the applicant’s education and career goals, and previous international experience.  
Last year’s recipient was Nick Bratcher who was featured in this blog as Featured Traveler. During his travels, Nick provided over 25 detailed and colorful posts to this blog. (See posts beginning with Day 1 – Quito). and currently serves as chair of the membership committee.
We congratulate Miss Shoup and look forward to her contribution our blog. Jazzy, best of luck and buen viaje.

Appalachia Meets Latin America in Free Concert

April 11 The Kentucky-Ecuador Partners cosponsored, along with the Lexington Public Library Foundation, a concert by Appalatin at the newly renovated 139 seat Farish Theater at the Central Library in Lexington. An audience of over 70 members were treated to the exciting fusion of Latin sounds with traditional Kentucky music unique to this band. Concert attendees were invited to shop a table of Ecuadorian crafts, set-up at the entrance to the theater where volunteers from Kentucky Ecuador Partners were on hand to welcome guests and answer questions about the organization.

 Yani Vozos, the band’s frontman, noted that his interest in Latin music was spurred by attending a Partners sponsored concert of Ecuadorian music in the Central Library some 15 or more years ago. Among the musicians is Fernando Moya , a native of Quito, Ecuador, and master musician of indigenous instruments from the Andean Mountains in South America.
 Luis de Leon, Yani Vozos, Steve Sizemore, Fernando
Moya, Mason Roberts, Marlon Obando Solano

To learn more about Appalatin and to hear examples of their music click on the following link.

The Lexington Public Library’s events calendar may be accessed with this link: