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Recently the University of Hawai‘i Maui College Dental Assisting Program students partnered with Iao Intermediate School English as a Second Language (ESL) students to share proper oral health care information. Students created interactive dental education modules that the Iao students used to promote dental health awareness in their community – with their peers at school, at home with family and extended relatives, or at church.

Iao Intermediate School librarian Jayne Hori said, “Service Learning provides students an opportunity to address the oral health challenges in the community while helping them grow individually.”

This service learning project has:

  • Provided an authentic service learning experience for students which target an actual need in the community.
  • Extended beyond the classroom into their own communities. It provided the students with newly acquired knowledge for real life.
  • Provided them with important information about dental care as well as exploring it as a career.
  • Provided contact with a mentor from the UH Maui College.
  • Built resiliency skills which addresses drop-out rates (poor attendance, grades and behavior).
  • Fostering a sense of caring for others.

UHMC course instructor Joyce Yamada said, “This partnership allowed UHMC Dental Assisting Program students to gain experience in teaching and engaging others, as they would as dental professionals. Students were role models who guided and effectively communicated dental education information and possible career and college options.”