Community Connection - October 2009
UTD predental students organize fundraiser for HSC-BCDFor many people, the thought of running elicits more of a grimace than a smile. However, students with the Pre-Dental Association at the University of Texas at Dallas hatched a plan to grin and bear it while running around the track on campus. Why? It was all for a good cause.
The group organized the first Miles 4 Smiles event on April 4, which raised $1,500 for the social services dental care fund at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry.
According to Leeanna Bartlett, director of social services at HSC-BCD, “That will get a lot of people out of pain.” She says her office is getting more inquiries from the public than ever about financial assistance. The social services fund provides a limited amount of money to allow patients who encounter financial difficulties mid-treatment to complete their care at the college.
Much like many successful events, the concept for Miles 4 Smiles was quite simple. Runners solicited sponsors to pay per mile run. The predental group invited the entire student body to participate. Participants numbered 60 volunteers, with 31 runners completing a total of 215 miles. The runners were entertained with a live DJ during the two-hour event. Groups and individuals were rewarded with prizes.
The idea was started by Sammy Mahmoud, former vice president of the group. “The idea was to start small so we could keep it manageable, but aim to expand it to all of Dallas,” he says.
Mahmoud collaborated with other leaders of UTD’s Pre-Dental Association, including its former president, Rafa Mobarak, and former secretary, Keren Cherian, who now is a first-year dental student at HSC-BCD.
“It is very rewarding for us to extend our arms to BCD,” Mobarak says. “It only gives us motivation to try even harder next year.”
Plans for the second annual Miles 4 Smiles event are already in the works. The event will be open to the public, and the group hopes to approach corporate sponsors. To volunteer in any capacity, contact the UTD predental group at www.utdpda.webs.com/index.html