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

This past Saturday, September 23rd, Smile Squad participated at the annual Oak Fair in Chinatown. The children and families were very excited to see us there again. It was great to interact with them despite their language barriers. Most were eager to show us how they brush and floss their teeth regularly while others were a bit shy at first but with the help of their parents as translators we were able to better interact with them. They enjoyed using the different puppets and toothbrushes we had available for demonstrational purposes. The event was a great turn out. Each child had a different skill level when it came to brushing and flossing. It was rewarding to see them eager to practice and improve their habits. They enjoyed getting new toothbrushes, toothpaste, and stickers.

Stephanie Alvarez (D20) and Simran Kaur (D20) reflects….

Stephanie Alvarez (D20) reflects on her experience:
“Volunteering with Smile Squad at Oak Street Fair in Chinatown was a great learning experience. I was excited to provide oral hygiene instructions to children of all ages that day. As I began to engage with the kids, it became apparent that many of them did not speak or understand English.  My usual spiel became a challenge and I depended on the children’s parents to translate in order for the kids to participate. I thought that many of them were shy, but in retrospect it may have just been the language barrier.  It dawned on me how important it is to have student volunteers who speak other languages in order to bridge that communication gap. Not only that but to make someone who doesn’t understand the language I speak feel comfortable, it really goes a long way.  In the future, I would like to incorporate the use of signs or informational pamphlets in other languages with pictures for both children and parents.  Overall, I had a lot of fun and met some great kids!  Smile Squad is a great organization and I can’t wait to volunteer again!”

Simran Kaur (D20) reflects on her experience:
“Tufts Smile Squad participated at the Tufts Community day promoting oral hygiene to community members! It was a fun, and exciting day for all the students who volunteers at this event. We would like to thank Thais Antunes, Kristin Bradley, Stephanie Alvarez, Sandy Lopez and Biniam Leggesse for taking the time to volunteer at the event!”