American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Smile, Share and Care is a program where volunteers go to the YMCA daycare/ pre-K across the street from the Tufts Medical Center on most Monday afternoons. We usually read one or two stories to the children and then play with them with some interactive stuffed animals. It’s a great way for us dental students to impress upon these little guys that dentists are cool people who want to take care of them.
We had 3 of our D20’s reflect on their experiences on May 1st and May 8th, 2017!
It was rewarding to head over to the YMCA and participate in the Smile, Share & Care event and teach the kids the importance of oral hygiene. Story time was an interactive way to teach the children more about oral hygiene and habits that will help them lead a healthier lifestyle. It was great to see their interest in story time and their excitement to have us there.
– Thais Antunes (D20)
We went into the preschool at the YMCA next to campus and each of us split up into a different classroom and read a couple books to the students. Depending on their age it determines which books we read to them. After we did some reading about brushing and taking care of their teeth, I had them line up and each take a turn brushing the teeth of a stuffed dinosaur we brought with us.
– Monica Hamilton (D20)
“Reading to the children at the YMCA was awesome! They were eager to share their knowledge about brushing and to tell stories about themselves. I also learned a lot, they taught me an interesting rhyme about brushing: “up like the sun, down like the rain, back and forth like a choo-choo train”. Also, I was able to analyze the books available and suggest whether a book was appropriate or not. I was surprised that there were still many books for preschoolers that had discrepancies and used not the best word choices. I plan to go again whenever possible.” (Reflection from 5/1/17)
“As I entered the classroom I could see their little faces light up, especially at funny “tooth” costume I was wearing. It was surprising that the kids remembered my name from the previous week and they were enthusiastic to see me again. While reading a book called Everyone Smiles by Gary Kersey Jr. (D20), the children were all smiling and sharing their stories and experiences about their own dental visits. I asked them what causes cavities and explained to them what the role of the dental team would be if they got a cavity. I could see that Smile, Share, and Care’s involvement is limited to making oral health education fun and interacting for the children, but they cannot yet unfortunately provide dental services to the children at the YMCA. It was surprising to me and to the others I volunteered with, Thais Antunes and Soteji T. Adeuti, that there was still so much oral health disparities right here in TUSDM’s backyard, and the effects it can have on the children’s lives. I hope to continue to volunteer with this organization, make some more tooth costumes, and get more people involved in creating a fun oral health experience for the kids in our community and beyond. (Reflection from 5/8/17)
– Stefane Bourguignon (D20)