High school youth organize ‘Mobile Dental Day: A Community Celebration’ on Casino Road

Jul 18, 2018

A small group of high school students is looking to make a big impact on Casino Road. The students have organized “Mobile Dental Day: A Community Celebration” on July 21 at Walter E. Hall Park, 1226 West Casino Rd., Everett, from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. T

his student-driven event is organized by participants in Leadership Launch, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to youth community engagement and empowerment. All of the students attend Mariner High School, Kamiak High School, or Everett Community College.

“A key component in developing young leaders is having them engage in their community,” said Rachel Kittle, Executive Director and Founder of Leadership Launch. “It is empowering to know that you can identify a need in the community, and then put together a team to do something about it.”

This year, the Leadership Launch students identified the lack of access to dental treatment for adults as a significant issue in our community.

Many Leadership Launch students looked at their family members, neighbors and community members who could not afford dental care, and they realized that the issue is a personal one. As a result, the group of mostly high school freshmen and sophomores decided to coordinate a mobile dental day on Casino Road to help area residents who cannot afford dental treatment.

Over the course of several months, the students researched dental services available to low-income residents of Snohomish County, learned about mobile dental units, and corresponded with community members who could help facilitate a mobile dental day event.

Medical Teams International is supplying the dental van through funding by Verdant Health Commission, and Dr. Sarah Fraker from Green Lake Dental Care and Dr. Sara Lundgaard from Penny Creek Family & Cosmetic Dentistry have generously agreed to donate dental services to patients at the event.

When asked why the students would put together Mobile Dental Day, Brittany, a first-year Leadership Launch student and rising sophomore at Mariner High School, said, “I think it is really important to be part of our community and to help others out. That is our main goal.”

Kayleen, a first-year Leadership Launch student and sophomore at Kamiak, said, “Mobile Dental Day is important because it’s a way of connecting with our community and a way to give back. We want to help adults struggling who can’t afford dental care. It also a way to gain confidence and inspire others to do bigger and better things.”

Second-year Leadership Launch student Fernando (a junior at Mariner High School) is working with the South Everett Boys and Girls Club to provide flag football scholarships to children attending the event.

He is also raising money to provide a Mariner Junior Football scholarship to donate at the event.

“When I moved to the area I had a chance to play football, but I couldn’t afford it,” Fernando said. “A coach from the Mariner Junior Football program gave me a scholarship, and football changed everything for me. I want to give that opportunity to someone else.”

Jennifer, a second-year Leadership Launch student and junior at Mariner High School, is similarly passionate about soccer and is partnering with Hand in Hand to provide soccer activities for children during the event.

Kayleen is working with the Everett Police Department to provide community support and connection during the event.

“At a time when there is so much division, I want to bring the police department and the Casino Road community together for a community building event,” she said.

Kayleen and Sheila, another first-year Leadership Launch student and recent graduate of Mariner High School, had the opportunity to meet with Captain Rod Sniffen of the Everett Police Department. They were inspired by Captain Sniffen’s compassion and willingness to help their community.

Liz, a graduate of Leadership Launch and Student Representative on Leadership Launch’s Board of Directors, made it clear why it is so important to give back to your community.

“Most people want to leave an area like the Casino Road community,” she said. “But if we don’t stay and make it better, who will? There will be another generation of kids growing up just like us, wanting to make a better life for themselves, but not knowing how.”

“I am so incredibly proud of these young leaders,” Kittle said. “This event is personal to them. It is their idea, their passion, and their community. It has been beautiful seeing the community partners rally behind these students. This event would not be possible without the amazing partners on Casino Road who perform the daily work of building community.”

When Kittle first began talking to partners about Leadership Launch, one partner at the Boys and Girls Club said something that stuck with her. “He told me: ‘In the nonprofit world, we don’t stand toe to toe, we stand shoulder to shoulder. No one organization can serve all of the needs of the community, so we stand together.’ That is the type of mindset we are working with our students to apply to Mobile Dental Day and throughout our community,” Kittle said.

In addition to the organizations listed above, other partners with Leadership Launch for this event include the YMCA Casino Road Community Center, Mariner High School Key Club, Youth for Christ, Bible Baptist Church, and the Kiwanis Club of Mukilteo.

Join Leadership Launch for Mobile Dental Day: A Community Celebration on Saturday, July 21 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. to support student leaders and the community.

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