Throughout the school year, the St. David’s Dental Program helps students at high-need elementary schools across three counties. When school isn’t in session during the summer, the mobile dental clinics treat adult patients at various sites around town. This summer, our dental vans made their first stop at Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Community First! Village, a community of formerly homeless individuals.
Neighbors at the Village such as Bonnie Durkee (featured below), the unofficial “Mayor of Community First!” are receiving much needed dental care, including cleanings, fillings and extractions.
Our dental team says that building trust with neighbors like Bonnie is a key first step in taking care of their dental needs. “When we first arrived, we noticed patients were missing their appointments,” said Tina Madrigal, Dental Data Coordinator for St. David’s Dental Program. “We began to walk around the village meeting people at their homes. Eventually, they started to trust us enough to come to the vans and let us take a look at their teeth. Now, they come looking for us, and want us to meet their friends who need our help. It’s been extremely rewarding to build relationships with this community.”
Once school starts, we’ll be back to screening and treating more than 10,000 students at more than 60 schools. Until then, you’ll find our vans parked among the other RVs at Community First, making new friends and creating healthy smiles.
This story was published as part of the August 2019 St. David’s Foundation’s newsletter, The 411. View the full newsletter here.
Click below to read other stories from The 411: