Volunteers are a tremendous resource for nonprofit organizations. If not for them, many charitable groups would not be able to conduct programs or serve clients. They help with fundraising, administrative tasks and operations, and they help spread the word about the mission of the organization. CincySmiles’ values the individuals that choose to give their time and share their expertise with us. Not only do they play a critical role in empowering the individuals and families we serve, they are helping to build an inclusive and resilient community in which we can all flourish. To show our appreciation, we want to recognize and celebrate them.
Alex is a fourth year OSU dental student. For the past two weeks, he has been volunteering at McMicken Dental Center – but this is not the first time he has volunteered with us.
A few years ago, Alex started working towards becoming a dentist and wanted to volunteer his time while he finish up his master’s degree.
After doing some research, he found CincySmiles Foundation and started helping behind the scenes by working on fundraising projects and in any area there was a need.
Alex also started shadowing the dentists at McMicken. One day, when the center was short staffed, he stepped in to help as a dental assistant. Later, he was offered a full-time assistant position in the mornings while he attended classes in the evenings.
When asked about his experience at CincySmiles, Alex replied: “Honestly, it gave me an appreciation for the services health centers provide low-income patients that I probably wouldn’t have had I not been here.” He later discussed how his volunteering also laid the foundation for his future in public health.
While working at McMicken, Alex had the opportunity to work alongside one of our former dentists, who he regards as his role model because of her optimism and how much the patients loved her. “They would come and say we heard on the street that you’re the doctor to come to.” Her striving to provide the patients that come to us with the finest care is what influenced him to seek a career in public health to better serve the low-income community after graduation.
Just in the 2 weeks that Alex was back at CincySmiles, he experienced first-hand how oral health isn’t taken seriously and how our dental center provides care to members of our community who otherwise would not have access to or could not afford it. “I’ve heard from patients that this is the one chance they have for dental care and that they’re just super appreciative of what we are able to provide them.”
In the time that Alex has been with us, both in the past and present, he has gained valuable knowledge that helped him to further his career. After he graduates from dental school in 6 months, he intends to return to Cincinnati, pursue, and secure a position that will allow him to provide dental care to those who need it the most.
When asked what advice he would give someone starting on this career path, he replied: “Buckle down and get ready for the ride of your life!”