Changing Lives One Smile at a Time
Safety is an integral part of Young & Healthy’s Mobile Dental Clinic. While the dentists do the heavy lifting, the Y & H staff and volunteers make sure that students make it to the clinic and back to class safely. One junior high student showed up to her appointments on time but would not say a word. She rushed back to class so quickly that it was hard for the staffer to keep up with her. She set the tone by having her guard up and choosing not to interact with staff. Being a Young & Healthy trauma informed employee has its perks and helped the staffer make conscious choices on how to interact with her. The staffer gave the student her space and explained that they knew she was more than capable of walking herself back to class but that her safe return to class was part of the success in putting the clinic together. The student listened but did not respond. On the last day of the Mobile Dental Clinic, this young lady was a different person. She was happy and engaged in small talk, asking if we would be back and wanting to know more about the services we provide. When asked about her experience in the clinic, she said “Today they fixed my front teeth, one was chipped, and another had a stain.” The pinnacle moment in her first Mobile Dental Clinic experience was this last day. Her experience will leave a timeless impact on her self-image. It changed how she walked, how she talked, and most importantly how she felt. By not passing judgement and treating her with respect we saw her become fully herself once the reason for her self-consciousness was erased. Just another way that Young & Healthy is impacting lives for the better.