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Audrey Buxton has volunteered on the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile for three summers and plans to become a dentist one day
Voice of Bonnie Keller, President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities speaking on KSMU’s Sense of Community Series in December 2007: “When you have the Surgeon General in 2000 telling you dental cavities are now the most chronic childhood disease, outside of asthma and hay fever, I think that really gets your attention. And it’s preventable. So anyone out there who can get involved and prevent this, that’s the solution. I’d encourage people to get involved anyway they can”. Even today Bonnie Keller’s words serve as statement of fact and a call to service in providing dental care to kids whose families otherwise couldn’t afford it. Bonnie Keller’s organization sponsors the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, otherwise known as the “Tooth Truck”, and about 6 months after her comments on KSMU, a young woman from Springfield answered Keller’s call to service. Audrey Buxton first volunteered to work on the Tooth Truck in the summer of 2008. She volunteered again in June of 09 and is back at the Tooth Truck again this summer. Audrey graduated from Glendale High School in 2009 and is now enrolled at the University of Tulsa. “I am a sophomore, I am a biology and Spanish major, and I’m pre dental. About 2 years ago I had a very complicated jaw surgery. Because of that, I’ve seen multiple orthodontists, periodontists, surgeons, everything! And so I’ve realized that is a passion of mine, health care with dental care”. Mindy Munoz is the Program Director for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. She says Audrey first joined the Tooth Truck in 2008 and “Through her dental experiences Audrey felt she could work with children nervous about going through their first dental experience, calm their fears and share what she experienced so they could understand and prepare for their own dental visit”. Audrey Buxton says “I just volunteer as much as possible. There’s a morning shift from 8-noon, then after lunch a second shift from 1 to around 4:30. I do what ever needs to be done. That includes cleaning instruments, making care bags containing dental gear for each of the children who come on the truck, and just talking to the kids. Communicating to the kids what will be happening. Calming their nerves, helping them feel in control”.Mindy Munoz says Audrey Buxton’s support for the tooth truck goes beyond showing up for her volunteer hours. “She took the initiative to search for alternate sources of funding and successfully located a program opportunity for a grant, and was very involved every step of the way to insure the application was completed and submitted, and through those efforts we received a $10,000 grand from the McKesson Corporation. Audrey Buxton remembers a middle school girl who had a root canal on the Tooth Truck. “After she came out, she was beaming because the dentist also fixed her severely chipped front tooth. She was so happy she could about her new look she could not stop smiling. When she came in she was self conscious and wouldn’t open her mouth, but when she left, she was beaming from ear to ear”. When asked how that experience and others like it shaped her decision to become a dentist she says “When I first started I thought well this will be a good experience, and then it kind of turned into ..I want to be that dentist that makes people not stop smiling”.Audrey Buxton hopes to attend dental school at UMKC, and wants to practice either in Tulsa or Springfield.For KSMU and the Sense of Community Series, I’m Mike Smith.