DDS and DH students raise $120,000 for local charity

$120,000 raised for non-profit charity

Tarwinder Rai - 28 February 2019

The dentistry and dental hygiene students at the U of A are proving to be vital to the health of our communities by raising $120,000 for the non-profit charity Dentistry for All (DFA).

"It still feels surreal that we surpassed our goal by $40,000," says Jhoyli Labrador-Stacey DDS 2021 class rep and organizing chair of the Dental Student Association's (DSA) 9th Annual Winter Charity Ball. "I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of this project and to witness our community coming together to support these charities. Our team has done an amazing job and we are very proud of ourselves!"

The Annual Winter Charity Ball is a student-driven initiative with a focus on helping those less fortunate. The dental program is an extremely intense and demanding program; the students are incredibly busy, and have little personal time and yet because of their hard work and commitment the amount of money they raise continues to increase each year.

Last year $101,500 was collected for Kindness in Action and the U of A Global Student Outreach Endowment Fund. Each year the DSA alternates between supporting the two charities both of which are non-profit organizations that provide free dental care to areas where dental care is limited or non-existent.

"Since we raised so much it was agreed upon by the committee to redirect some funds," says Labrador-Stacey. "The money raised will be directed in three different areas-sixty-five percent will go to DFA, thirty percent will go to the Student Support and Wellbeing endowment fund, and five percent will go to support the Boyle McCauley Health Centre Dental Clinic.

For Blaine AuCoin, comprehensive care director, associate chair, student affairs and director of Dentistry for All, the donation simply left him speechless.

"The incredible amount that was fund raised during the Charity Ball was a result of an amazing year-long planning and dedication of the whole committee," says AuCoin "The generosity of the event sponsors, donors and those bidding on items enables DFA to continue the charity's work in Central America. We are able to provide dental care to those who have very limited access to care due to location and costs."

DFA also provides local dentists with some of the means to provide care by bringing supplies from Canada so community dental programs can be provided between missions. In addition, DFA's
facilities are used by a local dental school as part of an externship program for dental students from Guatemala. The funds raised will enable these important programs to continue and expand into the future. It is the DFA's mission to provide access to care to those who otherwise would not get care and also to provide local dental professionals, current and future, opportunities to provide care to their people.