Give Kids a Smile Returns in a Big Way

Captain Cavity Fighter with a child
Captain Cavity Fighter with a child

This year’s Give Kids a Smile held on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, was a huge success thanks to Global and Population Health (GPH), Oral Health Promotion Director Kathy Lituri, and the ASDA Leadership Group. In addition to a large pool of volunteers, the School brought along a record three cavity-fighting superheroes: Captain Cavity Fighter and two Lieutenant Fluorides!

Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) is a program started by the American Dental Association in 2003 as a way for dentists to provide services to underserved children. Originally a one-day event in February, the program now includes events throughout the year.

GSDM returned to the Yawkey Club of Boston—where the School has a longstanding relationship—for its 2014 GKAS event. The Yawkey Club is a Boys & Girls Club—a nonprofit whose mission is to help young people build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders.

“This is a great opportunity to not only interact with children of all ages, but to also share your experiences and expertise, especially with oral health matters,” said Lituri in an email to students. “It’s a great opportunity to serve as a role model and encourage kids to do well in school and seek a higher education.”

Volunteers used the School’s popular Passport to a Healthy Smile concept. Small groups of children visited six stations that focused on different oral health topics, including: brushing and flossing, healthy eating, consequences of tobacco and oral piercing, tooth protectors (mouth guards, fluoride, sealants), dental careers, and the importance of teeth. Passports are stamped at each station and each child with a full passport receives a goody bag of a pencil, stickers, handouts, and, of course, a toothbrush and toothpaste!

There was also a story circle, arts and crafts, and a music stage for children to enjoy.

Students Ingy Alhelawe DMD 15 and Neelam Shah DMD 14 helped Lituri plan the event.

Also volunteering were: Sana Banday AS 15, Richa Bhatt AS 15, Christopher Chan DMD 15, Shelby Curtis DMD 16, Rushil Dang AS 15, Sara Elashaal DMD 17, Destinee Ingrao DMD 15, Golnaz Kavand AS 15, Anna Komnatnaya DMD 16, Israel Korobkin DMD 16, Hedieh Kousesghi AS 15, Andrea Lam DMD 16, Reefat Malhotra AS 15, Mike Mayr DMD 16, Mona Najafi DMD 16, Nora Nakshabendi DMD 16, Amrita Patel DMD 15, Siavash Golaby Sanjany DMD 15, Sara Saremi DMD 15, Cara Seidel DMD 15, Shivani Shirgavi AS 15, pre-dental student Albert Song, Isha Suri DMD 15, Vanessa Thai DMD 16, Bernadette Therriault AS 15, Mike Whitcomb DMD 17, and Garrett Wingrove DMD 17.

Photos are available on Facebook and Flickr.