By Mary-Justine Lanyon
It is a well-documented fact that children with tooth decay cannot learn well. If they are in pain, they do not sleep well, can’t eat properly and are unable to focus in school.
In an effort to ensure that the mountain’s children have healthy mouths, the three Rim-area Rotary clubs recently partnered with HAFDRA (Humanitarian Aid for Development and Relief Agency) and conducted dental screenings at the three elementary schools.
Dentists and dental hygienists donated their time to check students’ teeth. Rotary volunteers acted as scribes, taking down the notes dictated by the professionals.
Some students were referred to dentists for further assessment. Many were recommended for the dental sealant program that will also be offered at the schools by HAFDRA.
Jessica Mazakas, a fourth-grade teacher at Valley of Enchantment Elementary School, and dental hygienist Shellie Boydston are the driving forces behind HAFDRA on the mountain. Their mission is “to build and strengthen healthier communities locally and globally by increasing access to medical, dental and educational resources.”
At VOE two therapy dogs from Inland Empire Therapy Dogs visited with the students after their screenings. One little girl, who was apprehensive about the procedure, was comforted by Jake and his owner, Cheryl.