Smiles for Life  

Get to know your neighbours

Successful business people know the importance of knowing their clients; learning their likes and dislikes, patterns, habits and hobbies, in order to provide the best service or product available. Once you establish an understanding of their needs and wants, you have a foundation to build a strong and lasting relationship.

The same is true when it comes to the different species who share our habitat. It is fun to learn their names, how to identify them and understand their habits and patterns. There is a program created by Robert Bateman (the world renowned naturalist artist) called Get to Know. The Get to Know contest, which started in 2000, was created to address the critical disconnection between youth and nature. Dr. Jack DeGruchy (a dentist with the Westside Dental Centre) is proud to be involved with Bateman and support his Get to Know initiatives. The contest invites youth to build meaningful connections with nature through the creative arts including painting, writing, sketching, photography, music, videos and more.

From Oct. 20-23, DeGruchy will be a delegate in the Get to Know International Unconference at Jasper National Park; where leading public and private sector organizations involved in the green movement, will unite to develop new strategies for connecting young people with nature. Leadership from Parks Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Wildlife Habitat Canada, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rotary International and many others will be participating. Twenty-five youth delegates from across North America will attend the Unconference; several of them from the Okanagan.

Each delegate will have an opportunity to convey what they “hope, wish, wonder, feel, and think” about the environment as Youth Ambassadors for the Environment. They will have the opportunity to engage in stimulating conversations with decision makers and inspire their generation to be active environmental stewards.

The Unconference will benefit hundreds of youth as participants take an active role in sharing with their communities the importance of reconnecting with our wildlife neighbours and the environment. Rotary International is one of the sponsors of the Unconference, of which DeGruchy has been an active member for 25 years. He has combined his passion for both these organizations in an effort to establish World Youth Ambassadors to the Environment, with a mandate to encourage youth leaders to help prevent further environmental degradation. He is passionate about making a difference and committed to mentoring and listening to our youth.

When it comes to ideals, DeGruchy and Bateman are very much on the same page. Both men believe in “getting to know” the world around them. DeGruchy put this ideal into practice at Westside Dental Centre on a daily basis. He applies these principles to his dental practice by taking time to get to know his patients, their routines, family life, likes and dislikes; ultimately giving his patients the attention they need and deserve.

DeGruchy knows the mouth can not be taken for granted as we use it to speak, eat, breathe and even kiss. We cannot take Mother Earth for granted either as she provides air, food and water for our very survival. The oceans are a particular fascination to DeGruchy as they parallel many of the concerns he has with oral health. Damage happening on the ocean floor, as in the mouth, generally goes undetected to the human eye. This is why he is an advocate for regular cleanings and check-ups with your dentist, as well as saving our oceans.

As you enter DeGruchy’s dental office you will notice that he particularly likes bluebirds because they symbolize cheerfulness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health, new births and a positive attitude. These are the pillars that DeGruchy holds strong when making a difference in the lives of his neighbours, whether they be four legged, two legged, feathered, furry or wearing clothes.

For more information visit www.rotaryinternational.org, www.gettoknow.ca, and www.jdsmiles.com.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Dr. Jack DeGruchy, a graduate of the University of Alberta has been practicing dentistry for the past 4 decades. His love of education has taken him all over the world to study and saw him completing a fellowship in the prestigious Academy of General Dentistry as well as becoming a Fellow in the International Academy of Dentistry. He has travelled to Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Japan and Africa to share dental knowledge and has learned new and innovative dental techniques during these exchanges.

He established a multidisciplinary dental centre in Kelowna and was involved in the cutting edge of many of the present day dental technologies. Jack has been involved with implant dentistry since 1985, and has trained with Straumann, Nobel Pharma and Simpler systems. He sees implant dentistry as a wonderful development in the evolution of quality dentistry and is excited about the ways in which it enhances patient care. Of particular interest to Jack is what goes on during sleep that affects the teeth, the joints and surrounding muscles. Learning is definitely a way of life for Jack.

Jack’s interest in sports dentistry resulted in his being named as dentist to the BC Lions and both the Buckaroo and Kelowna Rocket hockey teams. He has been involved in many minor sports organizations from swimming and downhill ski racing to football and hockey.

Community development is important to Jack, and he has been involved in helping bring to fruition Prospera Place, The Rotary Centre of the Arts and the Kelowna Art Gallery, of which he is a past director.He has established the Westside Dental Centre and looks forward to helping the Westside community develop.

He is a major supporter of the Canadian artist, Robert Bateman and the “Get to Know” program which is an international non-profit organization based in Kelowna that seeks to provide opportunities for youth to connect with nature through outdoor educational experiences.
Jack and his wife, Gaylene, enjoy their three children and their spouses, and they have been blessed with eight wonderful grandchildren!

You can reach Dr. DeGruchy at Westside Dental Centre at 250-707-0248 or emailing [email protected] or on the web at jdsmiles.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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