Building student involvement, fostering civic engagement and enhancing community service to advance public health. 

On Saturday, April 30th the Wang YMCA hosted Healthy Kids Day as a citywide event throughout Boston. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) members Rhea Reen (IS17), Ritu Kular (IS17), Alisha Anand (D18), Andy Collins (D18), Tuvy Phan (D18), Oliver Giron (D18), and Tabitha Lewis (D19) joined a number of other vendors to promote health awareness and healthy lifestyle maintenance for children. At the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine booth, the club members provided toothbrushes, Tom’s toothpaste, and OHI using the dental Jeopardy game and the ever trustworthy puppet to show brushing techniques.

As soon as the event started, the Tufts students realized that they were in for more than they expected. Zumba classes began promptly at 10 AM, with some of the AAPD members joining the children and parents in the exercise and fun. The rest of the event was followed with martial arts performances, cultural and hip hop dances, and a magic show.

Healthy Kids Day became an unforgettable opportunity to engage with the local community, in terms of public health outreach and relationship building. As evidenced in the student reflections below, AAPD will be sure to continue volunteering at Healthy Kids Day in the coming years.

“It was a nice opportunity for kids to ask questions and learn about oral health and hygiene in a more casual setting than the dentist’s office.” –Andy Collins (D18)

“It was such an amazing experience to promote oral health in the community. Educating the kids with oral health games kept them engaged and intrigued. Reaching the youth means so much to me. I look forward to many more opportunities where I am able to share my love for dentistry and public health.” –Tabitha Lewis (D19)

“I had so much fun interacting with kids and educating them about oral health. Kids really enjoyed to learn brushing on our star patient, which was a stuffed monkey.” –Ritu Kular (IS17)

“I’ve always had a passion for volunteering and getting involved in the community. Having previously worked with kids as a teacher makes participating in events like YMCA’s healthy kids day extremely gratifying. It was fun showing them how to brush their teeth and seeing their faces light up while playing with my loupes. As I pursue my new career, it is nice to still be able to inspire kids to learn as I once did in the the classroom.“ –Tuvy Phan (D18)