"Four years ago I had the desire to give back to a rural community in Haiti called Furcy and decided to host a Christmas party for the children of the area. I was happily surprised by the amount of support received for this project and was able to provide 240 children with a memorable Christmas on the first year. In the following years, I continued to receive vast support and the party started to grow in size and scope. On December 23rd, 2014, we organized the fourth annual Christmas party for 350 children of Furcy. During the party, we have been able to provide each child with shoes, warm clothes and school supplies, as well as a toy from Santa Claus. Each child is fed during the party and gets to enjoy some fun activities (music, games, arts and crafts etc). In addition, given my career path in dentistry, I strongly believe in the importance of oral hygiene on the overall well being of an individual and hope to promote oral health in the community of Furcy. As such, we have been providing the children with oral hygiene instructions and have distributed kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.
This party has been possible thanks to the generous contributions of friends and family, as well as businesses and organizations in Haiti and the United States. Thanks to the overwhelming support for this project, we have gained enough funds to invest in a more sustainable project. We will soon be opening an education/library center in Furcy, as we believe education to be key in the growth of the community and of Haiti.
The smile that this party brings to the children is amazing and heart warming. I wish to bring them this moment of joy for years to come and hope to continue to invest in their future with the help of everyone."
-Stephie Castera (D16)
As part of the Oral Health Promotion class taken by the 1st year dental students each spring, students must complete ten hours of community service and public health outreach. At the end of the semester, Professor Kathy Dolan asks the students to look back on their service in a one page reflection. Dental Central is pleased to showcase some of Professor Dolan's favorites from the D17 class both as a resource for the D18 class and for your own viewing pleasure! Below are some selected quotes. Click the student's name to read the full text.
"I too plan to become highly involved in our university. I know then there will be countless opportunities to learn, achieve, and grow an understanding of what it takes to be the ultimate practitioner who can positively affect their community and truly enhance public oral health. " – Jordan Shapiro
"It was beyond rewarding to spend time at the clinic and also heartwarming to know that these children are being reached in a way that makes their early dental experiences positive and life changing." – Meagan Bossie
"A Reflection on Time Spent Promoting Oral Health within the Community, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Dental School" – Erik Skates
"After doing this small volunteer activity it brought it back into perspective. It has truly refreshed my drive and enthusiasm to become a dentist, solidifying that all the hard work will pay off and ultimately before I know it, I will be able to advocate oral health and help patients daily." – Taylor Parent
Over the summer, members of the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) at Tufts spent a night raising funds and awareness for cancer research through Relay For Life. AAWD member Meera Sahni (D16) summed up her eye-opening experience in a great reflection sent in to Dental Central.
"As I walked into clinic the following week, I thought about how easy it is to get wrapped up in the steps that you have to follow. The rapidity at which you can forget the significance of a patient’s medical history on their outlook and mindset when they leave your operatory is astonishing. We are encouraged from day one of our training to “treat the person” but attending Relay for Life has taught me that practicing this philosophy and understanding it are two different things. "
Read the rest of Meera's Reflection here!
Last spring, a group of 14 D17 students volunteered with the non-profit organization, Cradles to Crayons. Cradles to Crayons mission is to provide children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations throughout the Boston area, with the essential items they need to thrive whether at home, at school, or at play. Armed with 6 boxes of donated items, including a large donation of toothpaste graciously given by the oral medicine department, we arrived at the C2C warehouse Brighton, MA. We spent the next two hours sorting and organization clothes packet which would later provide children with enough outfits to last them a week. When all was said and done, we were able to produce 130 clothing packages to be distributed.
What surprised me most about the service was how willing every volunteer was to go above and beyond. We had to carry 6 boxes of donated goods all the way from the school to Brighton and everybody was more than willing to help carry a box along our journey that required a T ride, a bus ride, and a short walk. Everyone just wanted to help out. At the end, everyone expressed their interest to help out C2C again in the future.