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Inside and Out: Community Partnerships are Essential

Morongo Unified School District

The Registered Dental Assisting class at 29 Palms High School is involved in many community-based outreach programs and volunteer opportunities. Every Saturday, students sign up to volunteer at the Volunteers in Medicine in Thermal where dozens of low-income patients are examined and treated. Students give back to their community and apply their classroom instruction while honing their skills.

Throughout the year, students also visit both Head Start and classrooms on the Marine Corp Air Ground Combat Center’s child care facilities to demonstrate proper brushing techniques and the importance of choosing healthy foods and regular dental visits.

Thirty students from the combined Dental Assisting and Registered Dental Assisting classes participated in the community health fair event sponsored by The Flying Doctors on Sept. 27 in Thermal. This program brings free medical and dental care to remote or underserved areas of the world. The Flying Doctors visit areas such as Mexico, Central and South America, Asia and the Coachella Valley here in Southern California. The students teamed with dental hygienists, dentists, dental students and other dental professionals in providing no-cost dental services to over 250 individuals including cleanings, filings, polishing and extractions.

The community is also invited into the classroom to connect students to their chosen career path. The program welcomed Magan Jenkins, a former ROP student who shared her journey as a dental hygienist.

It all started for Magan her junior year in high school. Magan was an average student, but not necessarily college bound and very unclear of her career goal. Once she discovered working in the dental field, she decided to pursue dental hygiene. Magan immediately started taking on-line classes and completed all her prerequisites within a year. Magan will graduate from San Joaquin Valley College in Sept. 2015. She has a 4.0 grade point average and is at the top of her class. Motivation and hard work has been key to her success.

“Taking the dental assisting class my junior year was the best decision I ever made. It opened up so many doors for me,” said Magan. She continued to encourage the students to participate in all the opportunities the class offers. She reminisced about her memories of volunteering at many events, including the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic and the Flying Doctors.
Magan concluded by giving the students a variety of information about many of the hygiene programs in California and gave students various websites to learn more about both private and public schools that offer dental hygiene.

Partnerships with the community, in and out of the classroom, are essential to the success of every ROP student.