Mumbai service visitI’m a senior at the University of Florida and a member of ASDA’s predental chapter at Florida. As a predental, I understand that my time is valuable, and it’s important that I use it as best as I can before I begin my journey as a dental student. This past winter, I took part in a dental educational service trip to Mumbai, India. My sisters, Toral, an incoming D1 of the University of Florida College of Dentistry, and Kinjal, a sophomore at Nova Southeastern University, were able to join me. 

We volunteered as teacher’s assistants at the Navnirman School in Mumbai. The students at this school have intellectual and mental disabilities and are in need of special assistance to learn and maintain daily living skills. We aided the teachers in their efforts to create educational activities that foster the growth of the mentally disabled. Our duties included helping communicate the importance of dental hygiene to children ranging from four to eighteen years of age. This included teaching about the importance of and proper technique for brushing and flossing. We also spoke on the basic structure of the tooth. We gave out sixty packets to the students that included a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss packets. Lastly, we instructed the children on the importance of eating healthy and avoiding unhealthy foods. When planning this trip our goals were to serve an underprivileged area, demonstrate our expertise and have an impact on the local youths. I’m proud to say our trip was very successful.

Our ASDA chapter takes part in local events every few weeks. Our service event is called Youth Tooth and benefits local children in need. Sometimes it may seem like there isn’t enough time to manage schoolwork and still participate in service projects. But if you’re committed to becoming a dentist, you should devote time to projects like these. There is no shortage of causes available to you. Maybe you'll choose to work with underprivileged children, like I did. Whether at home or abroad, you can do a world of good for many children that do not have access or the means for maintaining a healthy smile. 

- Sejal Shah, University of Florida ’18