VIU Dental Assistant Students 'Catch A Smile' with Rotary

The “Catch a Smile Campaign” team wrap up volunteer visits to Nanaimo area elementary schools in late February, with (l-r) VIU Dental Assistant student Emily Deederly; Dr. San Mahara, local dentist and member of Nanaimo Rotary; Donna Allen, Nanaimo Rotary member; and students Sammy Ticas and Erika Ellis.

March 5, 2015 - 10:15am

Nanaimo area school children are benefiting from lessons in good dental health and nutrition delivered by a local dentist and Vancouver Island University (VIU) Dental Assistant students volunteering in the “Catch a Smile Campaign.”

A program of the Rotary Nanaimo Daybreak Club, the Catch a Smile Campaign was organized by Rotarians Donna Allen and Dr. San Mahara, who partnered with the VIU Dental Assistant students in providing information to children at Pleasant Valley, Fairview, Park Avenue, Georgia Avenue, Brechin and Bayview elementary schools.

Dental Assistant students made learning about dental health fun, dressing up as Tooth Fairies, and employing the assistance of “Mr. Chewy,” a stuffed dragon brought along to help teach proper teeth brushing techniques.

Children in Kindergarten and Grade 1 learned about the importance of eating healthy foods and how to brush and floss their teeth.

“We are always looking for ways to join with community groups to promote dental health,” says Marianne Roden, chair of the Dental Assistant program.

Programs like Catch a Smile benefit not only the school children, she added, but students who learn valuable skills in presentation, community engagement and teamwork. They also enjoyed delivering “treat” bags donated by Rotary that included a toothbrush, floss and a dental health sticker.

Now back in the classroom and working in the VIU Dental Clinic, students are welcoming pre-registered patients for dental screening. For more information on services provided in the clinic, visit or call 250.740.6240.



Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E:

Tags: In the Community

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