Give Kids a Smile Event a Resounding Success

By Lisa Welch

On Saturday, February 2nd the Dixie State Dental Hygiene Clinic hosted the annual Southern Utah Give Kids a Smile event. The faculty, staff, and students of the dental hygiene department in collaboration with local dentists and their staff volunteered to provide much needed oral health services to underserved children from the Southern Utah community. The event was a phenomenal success providing care to 48 children with over $27,000 in donated services being delivered to these patients; approximately $577.48 worth of donated dental services per child. Eleven children received vouchers to have additional services completed in community dental offices free of charge by community dentists. There were 92 people who generously volunteered their time to help make this event a resounding success including 35 dental hygiene students, 9 Dental Hygiene Faculty, 3 Dental Hygiene Staff, 16 students and 1 faculty from the Spanish Department served as translators, 7 Pre-dental students served as patient escorts, 8 Registered Dental Hygienists, 6 dentists, and 4 dental assistants from the community and 3 Henry Schein employees. Supplies for the event were donated by Colgate and Henry Schein. In addition, an anonymous donor donated stuffed animals for all of the children seen. The following local vendors donated food to the event for volunteers, Dominoes, Hungry Howie’s, Papa Johns, Durango’s, Subway, Chick-fil-a, Olive Garden, Harmons, and Smiths. The event coordinator, dental hygiene faculty member Brenda Armstrong, stated “most importantly, we were able to provide much needed oral health care to children who live in Washington County and lack access to care. Our goal was to fill the gap in children who do not have insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. I feel the event was a success on that one measure. My heart is bursting with pride that DSU and members of the community gave their time, energy, with such cheerful attitudes to improve the health of the children”. What an amazing example of DSU active learning active life and community engagement.