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Service with a Smile

June 20, 2017 Tags: Community Engagement and Outreach , STEAM

MOM-n-PA Erie DentistStudents from Saint Francis University helped give people in need something to smile about last weekend. MOM-n-PA Dental Missions hosted their 5th annual clinic this year at Gannon University in Erie, PA on June 17th and 18th. The MOM-n-PA mission is a two-day large scale dental clinic where dental treatment is provided at no cost to individuals who cannot afford dental care. Over 700 dental, medical and pharmacy professionals, students and lay volunteers freely donated their time to help at MOM-n-PA 2017. The two-day clinic provided dental care to nearly 1,000 patients.  They did 3,677 procedures and donated $581,000 worth of dental services. Patient procedures included cleanings, x-rays, fillings, root canals and extractions at the clinic. 

Seven students majoring in Biology, Chemistry and Health Sciences at Saint Francis University volunteered at the June clinic in Erie, PA. Volunteers MOM-n-PAVolunteer roles ranged from checking patients in at registration to assisting the dentists during the procedures. Most volunteers were ambassadors to make sure the patients were accompanied at all times throughout the day. As a volunteer, the clinic stressed four main rules in helping patients throughout the day. Volunteer safety, child safety, patient safety, and have fun/interact with patients. The most memorable volunteer experiences were from meeting new people, learning of their experiences and ending the day with a few new smiles.

Most patients hadn’t been to a dentist in years. A visit to a traditional dentist office for a panoramic X-ray and extraction would cost $600 to $800. The services Mom-n-PA provided were free. Biology/Pre-Med student, Taylor Keiper, reflected “All the patients were so grateful, and it was very heartwarming to hear their stories and appreciation”.  

Chemistry major, Mitchell Hogue, gained a lot from the two day service experience.  “I learned the value of helping others.  I learned a spirit of simplicity and joy because the simple help I provided brought great joy to many, including myself. I learned that dentistry is exactly what I need to do for the rest of my life.”

SFU students are looking forward to participating as volunteers at the 6th annual MOM-n-PA in 2018. The location and dates are yet to be finalized.

For information on other student volunteer opportunities, visit SFU's Center for Service and Learning.


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