The dental students at the University of Alberta are proving to be vital to the health of our communities by raising $60,000 for the non-profit charity Kindness in Action.
“We never dreamed this is what would happen,” says Emily Ervin, a first-year dentistry student and organizing chair of the Dental Student Association’s (DSA) 6th Annual Winter Charity Ball—where a majority of the funds were raised. Last year the event collected $42,500 for Dentistry for All. Both it and Kindness in Action are non-profit organizations that provide free dental care to areas where dental care is limited or non-existent. The DSA alternates between supporting the two charities.
“It’s important to me to always remember that we have a skill set not many people do. Being able to provide this service in remote areas and countries is invaluable,” says Ervin. “The biggest thing we had working in our favour this year was that we had a cohesive group of volunteers.”
For Dave Maskell, retired dentist and vice-president of Kindness in Action, the donation simply left him speechless.
“This is awesome,” says Maskell, who was officially presented the check during the charity ball on Jan. 23. “Our organization keeps growing and volunteer numbers keep increasing. This donation allows us the flexibility to purchase more equipment and outfit more teams to send out on missions.”
Third-year dentistry student Marissa Struik recently returned from a mission trip in Belize with Kindness in Action. Spending her time in a small community called Hopkins, Struik says the experience helped her build confidence by experiencing a different environment.
“My experience on the trip can only be summed up as phenomenal. The dental team I was lucky to be a part of were so welcoming and helpful. They really wanted the team to succeed in serving the Hopkins community to the best of everyone’s ability,” says Struik. “I gained a lot of dental experience working with them, and they all helped the students become more confident in our skills. It really was one of the best learning opportunities I have had in my dental schooling, not only in developing dental skills, but also in patient management and team building.”
This year 15 students from the School of Dentistry will participate in dental missions.