Outreach, Students

UNC Students Forgo Spring Break to Aid Dominican Orphans’ Dental Needs

Fifteen University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students will spend their spring break providing dental supplies and education to hundreds of children and adults in the Dominican Republic.

The students are members of Delta Delta Sigma, the pre-dental honor society at UNC. They will leave for Monte Cristi, a province in the northwestern part of the Caribbean country, on Saturday (March 8) and return March 15.

The undergraduate student organization is partnering with Orphanage Outreach, a charity that has been working in Monte Cristi for more than a decade, whose mission is “to provide opportunities to orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children.”

“It is health week at the orphanage from March 10 to March 15, and we will have the opportunity to work with doctors and dentists there to provide needed care for the orphanage and surrounding communities,” said Daniel Driskill, Delta Delta Sigma’s vice president and a senior biology major. “We will also teach lessons in hygiene and provide needed supplies.”

Chelsea Marcuard, a senior biology major who has helped organize the Delta Delta Sigma trip, said group members hope to take 1,500 pounds of supplies with them to Monte Cristi. Edgecombe Community College’s Rocky Mount campus and the UNC School of Dentistry have provided donations of supplies, and North Carolina dentists and family and friends of Delta Delta Sigma members have also provided funding – a total of more than $13,000 for the trip.

“I think that this trip is not only a chance for us to make an impact on the people living in grave poverty in the Dominican Republic but is also a great experience for all of the students involved,” said Marcuard. “It is a special feeling to know that you’ve made a difference.”

Delta Delta Sigma has sponsored other service outreach projects in the past, Driskill said, but the Orphanage Outreach project represents its largest such effort. This is also the first time the organization has committed the spring break to organized outreach.