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Charity spotlight: Children’s Smile Center

Jackie Barger is in his 30th year working for non-profits, including the past five with the Children's Smile Center.
Jackie Barger is in his 31st year working for non-profits, including the past six with the Children’s Smile Center.

In sports, you hear of over-achieving athletes eager to run through a brick wall, so to speak, for their coaches.  You might have the same urge after listening to Jackie Barger of the Children’s Smile Center.

With a bounce in his step and passion for the non-profit dental clinic, Barger every day seeks out low-income families whose kids are on Medicaid and in need of dental care. In fact, he’s unafraid to stop by convenience stores and other businesses, and then hand out brochures and engage in a chat.

“My staff asked me, ‘So, you just walk up to complete strangers?’” Barger said with a laugh, and his answer is an empathic yes – for good reason. “One time, I was talking to a family and they were looking at the brochure. Going to the dentist wasn’t something they were used to. But one lady walked up (during the conversation) and said, ‘My kids go there. It’s awesome.’”

The Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, a PGA Tour event, is proud to have Children’s Smile Center on board again this year.

The PCCC has gifted almost $14 million to children’s charities in its 27-year history. And now here’s your chance again to aid the Children’s Smile Center, which covers six counties in southwest Missouri (Barry, Christian, Dade, Lawrence, Stone, Taney) and leans on four annual fundraisers – including the PCCC — to help meet its budget.


About Children’s Smile Center

The non-profit last year covered more than 13,200 dental appointments for 6,225 children. That’s significant considering the percentage of children on Medicaid in the six counties serviced by the Children’s Smile Center.

This is where Barger inspires a so-called call to action and rallies the cause of the non-profit.

Barger, the non-profit’s executive director since 2010, rattled off some startling statistics, noting that 60 to 70 percent of kids in area small towns rely on Medicaid.


Unfortunately, only 10 percent of Missouri dentists accept Medicaid, and the Smile Center knows of only two private-practice dentists in the six-county area that fall into that category, Barger noted. The reason dentists don’t accept Medicaid is because of a low reimbursement rate.

“This is a non-profit that sees only kids and pregnant women on Medicaid, but that’s why the Price Cutter Charity Championship is so important to us,” Barger emphasized. “We’ve got to raise the money every year to make up the difference.”

The Children’s Smile Center conducts grant-writing and direct mailers seeking ways to supplement its $1.6 million annual budget.

The non-profit now has three locations in Ozark, Aurora and Branson West after initially opening in 2006 thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The grant was for a three-year start-up process. The center received further financial support from the community, local dental professionals, building contractors and suppliers.

Rogetta Prueitt, Joe Millsap and then Barger have served as executive directors. Barger has worked in non-profits for 30 years, most of them children’s non-profits.

In addition, the Children’s Smile Center has become a popular destination for local students of Ozarks Technical Community College, Vatterott College, Midwest Technical Institute and Everest College as they complete their academic programs in dental hygiene and dental assisting.

Students regularly rotate in and out of the center, and staff continues to provide advice and guidance to both students and the academic programs.

“We don’t charge any of our families to come in,” Barger said. “It’s very important for us to raise the funds, No. 1. And we don’t do events (strictly) for the money. We do them for the exposure, and the Price Cutter Charity Championship is a good opportunity to show what we’re doing. That provides a platform to tell our story.”

Here’s how to help:


CHILDREN’S SMILE CENTER: The non-profit provides dental care for children from low-income families eligible for Medicaid in six southwest Missouri counties. To schedule an appointment or aid through the PCCC, call the center’s Ozark office at 417-582-5439. It also has offices in Aurora and Branson West.

CORPORATE SKYBOXES on the 9th and 18th greens, and tents on the 18th fairway: These include covered seating and all-inclusive badges into the Jackson Brothers of the South VIP Tent (food and beverages).

Watch from the "front fow" on the 18th green
Watch from the “front fow” on the 18th green


PRO-AMS: Play with a pro & enjoy top courses such as Highland Springs, Buffalo Ridge Golf Course, LedgeStone Country Club, Millwood Golf & Racquet Club & Fremont Hills Country Club. Includes a great golfer gift package, continental breakfast, lunch, on-course beverages, team photos & trophies. Check out our list of golf experiences

The Chris Hamon-led White River Valley Foundation team came decked out in camo rain gear in 2016.
The Chris Hamon-led White River Valley Foundation team came decked out in camo rain gear to the 2016 Price Cutter Pro-Am.

ON-COURSE SPONSORSHIPS: Bleachers, water coolers and much more can help generate interest in your business, and will go a long way toward helping kids in the Ozarks. See our full menu of options.

Sponsors-Your banner on a heavily trafficed walkway


Main story-courtesy photoMain story-3

A great way to support military, law enforcement and first responders as well Ozarks children’s charities — as they receive free admission as well as food and drinks thanks to your sponsorships. Follow this link


They are only $25 each, and gives the ticket-buyer a chance to win a 2017 Ford F-150, or $10,000, plus daily prizes during the tournament. Check out the details here.



Sponsored by Copy Products Inc. and University Plaza, this event is on Tuesday, August 8 at University Plaza Convention Center. We’ll also have electronic bidding at! Register at this link.

THE ULTIMATE presented by Custom Metalcraft & Ridewell Suspensions


Win a 2017 Corvette Stingray, as a $1,200 buy-in guarantees a 1-in-100 chance of winning the car and a 1-in-10 chance of winning $1,000. You’ll also receive many other perks, including air-conditioned seating on the 18th green during the PCCC along with clubhouse parking, a luxurious dinner on Friday, August 4 at Highland Springs Country Club as well as breakfast and lunch in the clubhouse daily during the PCCC, plus his and her shirts.