10 June 2013

A team of Bachelor of Oral Health students aided by the Dean and faculty staff, provided dental information and assistance to guests of the annual Homeless Connect volunteer event held at the Sydney Town Hall on 4 June. In the first instance they gave important oral hygiene information to the many visitors, and identified people requiring urgent dental treatment. The guests were then taken for triage assessment by faculty alumni who attended with their mobile dental clinic and team. Essential dental treatment was provided on site to 35 homeless people.

Remarked attending BOH3 student, Alex Ong: "the atmosphere within Sydney Town Hall was infectious and both students and staff, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, got straight to work.

Bombarded with questions ranging from dental pain, oral hygiene and free dental service, our experience and patience was immediately put to the test. The commitment and determination shown by each individual made the day a truly rewarding and memorable experience and made that bit more entertaining with the surprise appearance of NRL celebrity, Wendell Sailor.

We learnt that people in difficult circumstances often have no awareness of the services available to them and attempt to 'self-treat' and we found that dispensing even the most basic of oral hygiene advice was greatly appreciated.

For many of the volunteers it wasn't so much about increasing awareness or educating the masses about the importance of oral health and the services available, but being able to make a significant impact on the guests' lives by supporting and believing in them. As a collective the students felt they had made a difference to the visitors and given them something to smile about.

The Sydney Homeless Connect event was a profound experience and we felt humbled, rewarded and inspired by our participation and have hopefully learnt not to take the simple things in life for granted."

In the Dean's words to our volunteers "This was the first time we have participated and I received excellent feedback from organisers, other volunteers and most importantly the guests of the event. I was very impressed and very proud of the professionalism displayed on the day. You are all great ambassadors for the university".

Contact: Denise Fischer

Phone: 02 9351 8300

Email: 1c280f3a040257233015532404192827481457293801074f1e4a1839