Foothill College Dental Hygiene program students are traveling to Vietnam over the holidays to work with underprivileged children in orphanages.
Sixteen of the program’s 24 students will spend a week in the villages around Saigon, educating children on proper dental care and giving them the supplies they need for follow-up care.
“We are going to try and treat as many children as possible,” said Ken Horowitz, an instructor in Foothill’s Dental Hygiene program. “We will provide toothbrushes and education, because prevention is so much better than treatment. We will try to clean their teeth as best as we can.”
The trip has been completely student-driven, according to Horowitz. One of the program’s students had ties to the Saigon community and has worked with the Vietnamese government to secure the four levels of permission needed to fulfill their mission.
Students were responsible for covering their own travel expenses, approximately $2,000 per student, and raised funds for their cause.
“They are very dedicated to the cause,” Horowitz said. “We will focus on prevention. To them, (dental hygiene) is a luxury. A lot of those kids have never seen a toothbrush.”
For a full feature story on the students’ trip, check the Town Crier in January.