When I started at Meharry Medical College, I decided to dedicate my time at the first volunteer event they hosted: the Mt. Zion Back-to-School Event. We provided 38 free screenings and care to both children and adults. From this moment on, I was inspired to continue my journey in serving those less fortunate than myself.
I grew up on an acre of land with fruit trees, a massive vegetable garden and just a few animals to care for. While it may sound like I grew up with a luxury many lack, the reality is that my family of 14 was hardly scraping by. We used public help services from time to time, although my parent’s philosophy was to “only take what you need.”
During middle school, I participated in my neighborhood’s Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program in the San Francisco Bay Area. The program was designed to encourage younger individuals to take charge of their moral and intellectual growth, while contributing to the well-being of society at the same time.
The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry’s chapter of ASDA has a rich history of giving back to the people of Lexington and Central Kentucky. One of the unique ways we do this is by organizing monthly, student-run, free dental clinics for children ages 4–12. Saturday Morning Clinic (SMC) was started over 40 years ago by dental students who wanted to promote good oral health and give back to the community.
During ASDA’s 2019 Annual Session, Meharry ASDA received the “Outstanding Community Outreach” Gold Crown Award. One of the largest and most influential programs our student leaders have implemented on campus is our Meharry Oral Health Day.
This past spring, Indiana University School of Dentistry’s ASDA chapter was awarded one of the Dentistry in the Community Grants presented by Colgate. Our goal was to create a new event and partnership, targeting our local veteran population.
Detroit is a bustling, rapidly growing city, home to students, young professionals, athletes and a variety of businesses. Unfortunately, it is also home to communities that may be struggling to make ends meet, putting their health care needs on the backburner due to high treatment costs and lack of access. The more I witnessed this dilemma, the more I wanted help give these individuals the care that they normally could not afford.