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Brooke Terry, a dental hygiene student, coordinated a donation drive at the University of Southern Indiana to benefit Aurora Evansville, which helps individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

The students collected enough travel-sized personal care items and non-perishable food items (fruit, veggie, protein) to make 1,000 bags for Aurora to distribute.

Terry says she was inspired by a dental hygiene lecture on culturally competent care. Below, she shares what inspired her to take action.

I was interested in working on this project due to my newfound education on homelessness. I grew up in Shawswick, a township in the city of Bedford, Indiana, where unfamiliarity with homelessness and little to no diversity is common. Homeless individuals were not prevalent in my area; therefore, I was not educated on the community correctly. Since moving away and traveling, I have been exposed to new cultures and communities, leading to a heightened interest in cultural awareness, compassion, and helping others. When I moved to Evansville, I knew the number of individuals in need would be larger but was not aware of the true need here. In my opinion, when people think of homelessness, they think of large cities, not “somewhere like Evansville or Bedford.” 

During the first week of class in DTHY 351, a mentor of mine lectured on culturally competent care. This discussion instilled a new inspiration and realization within me. I do not think my community or peers fully understand the need in our area either. This lack of knowledge leads to less than the standard of care for homeless individuals. As a future dental hygienist, I see it as my duty to spread homelessness awareness, try to increase compassion in other health care providers, and work towards reducing unconscious biases within dental professionals towards these individuals. 

Brooke Terry, Dental Hygiene Student

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