On May 23, 2019 students and faculty volunteered at Early Learning Center in Malden for Career Day. Approximately 140-150 students aged 3-5 years old came by the table with their teachers. Each student and teacher received a goodie bag filled a toothpaste, a toothbrush and a sticker. Educational reading materials and brochures were given to teachers to distribute in each student’s cubby.
Connie Lau reflects: “It was very rewarding for me to see teachers and students raising their hand to ask questions regarding dentistry, and if our pediatric department would see children with special needs. I would like to shout out to Dr. Forero for her support and guidance to make this event fun for the kids, and Dr. Sprott, pediatric resident, for volunteer her time talking to the kids and the teachers about what pediatric dentist do.”
Team Smile is a charitable foundation started in the Mid Western States in the early 2000s. The premise is to put together sports teams, dentists, hygienists and dental student professionals together to help treat needy children’s oral health needs. Who doesn’t love sports and team spirit?! This is the second time that Team Smile has come back to Boston. Last August 2018 was the “ inaugural” event at Fenway Park to great success. Tufts Dental was asked first by Colgate Palmolive to fill the student spots. =
Sameha (D21) and Abrar Ahmed (D21) both volunteered at the Jamaica Plain’s Health Fair.
Abrar Ahmed reflects: “We set up interactive and fun jeopardy games for students and their parents to answer small questions and learn about oral health. As a reward, everyone got to take home a toothbrush and toothpaste for their participation. Most of the students sincerely loved learning about the fun facts that they kept coming back for more, some even wanting to go through all the board questions because they thought it was cool. Other vendors nearby also participated and joined in on the jeopardy game. All in all, it was a very rewarding experience knowing we were able to create a small platform to discuss oral health with all these students in an enjoyable and relaxing environment! “
ASD members, Jason Cummins (D22), Ajmal Khalid, Kristina Caravelli (D21) and Kristiana Person volunteered by teaching OHI and playing games at the first ever Inclusive Community Sports Day put on by Special Olympics Massachusetts and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. There was free activities for all ages and abilities. Sports stations for soccer and track & field, fitness activities, yoga, wellness booths, nutrition tips, healthy foods from the Fresh Truck. The goal of the event was to come together as a community to celebrate inclusion and wellness while providing information about the work done by Special Olympics Massachusetts and Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.
On February 26th three volunteers from Smile Squad visited the Boston Public School and gave oral hygiene instructions to kids ages 3-7 years.
Sara Alterman (D20) reflects on her experience volunteering; “We gave a live demo on proper brushing and flossing techniques using a puppet and then let the kids try it out for themselves. They loved the chance to be hands on with the puppet and it was a great way to give them feedback on their brushing techniques. At the end of the day we gave the children their own toothbrush and toothpaste to take home with them so they can keep up the good habits we taught them. The children and I both had a lot of fun and I would definitely volunteer with Smile Squad again in the future!”
SNDA members Tiara Felder, Gabriel Thomas, and Heather Smith had a lot of fun returning to Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Academy, a youth development and leadership program for Boston teens, for a dental career workshop. They took alginate impressions on typodonts, played dental jeopardy, and talked to them about a career in dentistry.
Heather Smith (D20) reflects: “The kids were really enthusiastic about wanting to know more about dentistry, and expressed that they took a lot of positive things away from the workshop. Many of the children reflected that prior to the workshop they did not know about all of the recognized specialties and different aspects of dentistry.”
Loaves and Fishes Meals Program, sponsored by the First Korean Church in Cambridge, serves hot restaurant-style buffet to the homeless, retirees, and members of the community weekly. A large volunteer staff consisting of members of the First Korean Church and outside organizations help to prepare, cook, and serve the food and clean up afterwards. Korean American Dental Association (KADA) members Urim Kang (D19), Cindy Park (D20), Jaeseong Park (D20), Joohee Park (D20), and Stephen Kwon (D20) were given the opportunity to serve along with 28 other volunteers.
Stephen Kwon (D20) reflects: “We assisted in preparing for the meal, then set up a small booth to provide oral hygiene instructions and hand out toothbrushes and toothpastes. More than 100 attendees visited our booth, many who were unacquainted with proper dental care. It was exciting and rewarding for us to engage with members of our community and guide them into developing good oral habits. We look forward to returning in the future!”
The Asian Dental Organization regularly visits the Golden Age center, making in effort to improve the health literacy of Chinese seniors in the Tufts Dental neighborhood.
Gina Kim (D22) reflects: “We gave a presentation about nutrition and oral health for the elderly at the Golden Age Center. Through this event, the seniors were able to learn how to better care for their oral health. I loved participating in this event as I learned to apply what I have used in my classes such as Oral Health Promotions to better communicate to the community on why our diet is an integral part of taking care of our teeth. I was surprised the elderly were very interested and actively participating in the discussion. Through this experience I realized once again how important my education at Tufts Dental is and was motivated to learn the best to my abilities the information presented in my classes.”
Evan Gallegos Reflects: “Chris Hines (D22) and Evan Gallegos (D21), provided preventative techniques to the St. Francis House community. There is a large and growing community at this shelter who attend our workshops to learn more about their oral health. Our presence is imperative to educating the large vulnerable St. Francis House population, so that they develop good oral hygiene and prevent oral disease.”
On October 30, AAPD volunteered with Room To Grow. The organization serves families from just before their child’s birth through age 3. They provide high-quality material items (like clothes, books and toys), individualized parenting education, and specialized referrals to community resources to ensure a healthy and secure start to the child’s life. The AAPD team helped to sort through donated clothing, supplies and books.
Volunteer Sophie Heitsmiller (D21) reflects: “With a group of nine people, we were able to organize an entire room of donations within a few hours. It’s was rewarding to see how teamwork can help a non profit organization that will help mothers and children in need.”
Everyone had a great time and look forward to working with this amazing organization again in the future!