As predental students and future health care professionals, our involvement in our communities can play an integral role in the way that we are perceived by our peers. Volunteering can also be extremely useful for predental students to show admissions committees that they are compassionate individuals who are committed to the well being of other people.
One awesome volunteering project for predental students to consider taking on is to organize and conduct a dental supply drive. Organizing a dental supply drive offers a great way to get involved in the dental community and network with practicing dentists. All this networking is a bonus while you’re collecting supplies to donate to members of an underserved community to promote better oral health amongst individuals who often face barriers to care. This experience can be extremely rewarding and can serve as a great start to a career in helping others in the field of oral health. Listed below are some of the steps involved in running your dental supply drive.
- Set up a general timeline to follow and determine who you will donate the supplies to once the collection is complete.
- Determine how you will advertise the event. If you decide to do something such as make flyers, see if there is a member in your predental organization that has a knack for graphic design. Another way that you could promote your event is to create a Facebook event and invite friends and family to join so that the word spreads.
- Contact people and politely ask for them to consider donating to the cause. This would be a great time to go in and talk to the dentist that you go to or have shadowed before and see if they have anything laying around that they would be willing to donate.
- Collect everyone’s donations and deliver them to the charity of your choice.
- Send out thank you notes to everyone that donated to your cause to show your appreciation.
Bonus Tip: Split your organization into teams and turn the supply drive into a competition to boost participation and maximize the amount of supplies collected. You could even offer a pizza party to the winning team to create more of an incentive.
This supply drive is a quick and relatively easy way to give back to your community, however, knowing that you were able to help individuals in your community is an amazing feeling. After all, isn’t the chance to help others part of the reason we all want to join the health care field?
~Charles Hauge, University of Wisconsin-Madison ’16, predental student