Not My Last Goodbye! Thank you to The Columbus Foundation and KidSMILES

Looking back week by week, I was so amazed and proud of the growth and learning I have had. I detailed below my experience at KidSMILES this summer with a few important milestones from each week, with links out to each weekly blog post.

Week 1: I got acquainted with the procedures and working environment at KidSMILES and started working on our outreach expansion by examining Ohio Department of Education schools data to prioritize schools we would like to visit.

Week 2: I led and coordinated my first outreach visits successfully. I survived and succeeded!

Week 3: I continued my outreach visits. I reached out to potential partners, including the Central Ohio Association of School Nurses. I attended the Franklin County Free Clinics Roundtable organized by the Ohio Association of Free Clinics.

Week 4: I visited a focus group meeting organized by the Bhutanese Nepali Community of Columbus with the Columbus Police Department. Our two new AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, Eric and Tionne, began at KidSMILES began.

Week 5: I shadowed one of our board members, Dr. Jeff Milton, a pediatric dentist practicing in Powell, Ohio. I continued our visits and had a fantastic visit with WARM.

Week 6: I called and emailed all the principals for the schools we would like to prioritize visiting for our outreach expansion. I finished a complete draft of the outreach brochure.

Week 7: I finished the research project examining staffing, organizational structure, and funding sources at other non-profit and free/reduced cost clinics in Ohio and across the US. I shadowed another one of our board members, Dr. Sakamoto, who is a periodontist, a dental specialist, in Blacklick, Ohio. We had a Summer Fellows Learning Session with Mr. Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO of the Columbus Foundation.

Week 8: I completed a draft survey for assessing our outreach program effectiveness and piloted the survey successfully at our outreach visits. We hosted our Open House, with many current and interested outreach volunteers attending the event.

Week 9: We had our Goodie Bag stuffing event and stuffed about 1,000 goodie bags to use at our upcoming events. I completed a couple small projects around the clinic and organized our clinic and outreach materials to prepare for my transition out. I also led our largest outreach event of the summer where we visited about 135 children.

For my final week, I wrapped up a couple tasks for the week and completed my final visit. I spent a lot of time preparing for my final presentation. I gave my final presentation at our Columbus Foundation Summer Fellows Closing Luncheon earlier today. It was great to hear about the experiences of the other Fellows. I had a good idea of what everyone was doing at their Fellowship sites and their future plans after the Fellowship, but it was really interesting to hear about their complete experience in a comprehensive presentation format. Giving our presentations in the Pecha Kucha format, where we had 20 slides with 20 seconds for each slide, kept our presentations concise and to the point.

My presentation at the luncheon today focused on an introduction of who I am and why I pursued this fellowship, a history of KidSMILES and its co-founders, an overview of my goals, my main accomplishments and challenges, and a thank you to the Columbus Foundation, the KidSMILES staff, and for all of the guidance and mentorship of Laura Zuber. I was so happy that Julie, Norma, and Laura could attend the closing luncheon.

David with Laura, Julie, and Norma

I’m so happy Laura, Julie, and Norma attended the Final Luncheon!

Overall, I had such an amazing experience at KidSMILES that challenged me in a meaningful and purposeful way. However, this is not my last goodbye. After I return from vacation for the next two weeks, I will be volunteering as much as I can at KidSMILES to help with as many projects as I can!

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