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Idaho State University dental hygiene students brighten holidays for families

December 11, 2014
ISU Marketing and Communications

Idaho State University dental hygiene students are playing Santa Claus this holiday season—they’ve raised more than $1,500 to benefit three families and seven children.

The money will provide clothes, toys, books, toiletries, cleaning supplies, toothbrushes and dental floss for the families and children. The ISU Department of Dental Hygiene worked closely with an elementary school social worker to identity families in need, according to organizers.

The spirit of giving doesn’t end with the holidays. Dental hygiene students give back to the community year round with events such as the Homeless Stand Down and the Teddy Bear Clinic. Students develop oral health programs for organizations in need, provide oral health education to local elementary children, implement dental sealant programs in elementary schools, and work with the health department to provide dental sealants in rural areas.

They also partner with Southeast Idaho Public Health and local dentists to provide free preventive oral health care and make referrals for restorative care at the annual Give Kids a Smile event, a two-day event held at the ISU dental hygiene clinic every February.

“Our students have always been known for their willingness to serve the community, but this year they have really taken their commitment to the next level,” said Colleen Stephenson, faculty advisor.

Despite a demanding professional program, dental hygiene students have been helping with Holt Arena concessions on a nearly weekly basis throughout the fall semester in order to raise money to fund these various community service activities.

One of their largest activities was helping to plan and carry out the first annual Boise Oral Cancer Walk, held in October. Funds raised from the walk go toward oral cancer advocacy and research and for community support. A friendly competition quickly ensued among the teams in Idaho to see which team could raise the most funds.

ISU emerged victorious, due in large part to a $4,000 donation from the ISU Dental Hygiene students themselves, who raised the money through concessions, bake sales and other fundraisers.

“ISU dental hygiene students are always willing and eager to give of their time, money, and talents to serve others,” said Stephenson. “We are very proud of their contributions to the community.”


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