Second mission team from St. John’s Lutheran Church helps children learn about dental hygiene

St. John’s second high school group arrived safely in Antigua on Sunday, July 9, ready to dive into mission work. They are spending the week helping the students and families of Escuela Integrada through projects at the school, the families homes and a nearby nursing home.  

Robert Sullivan hands a dental hygiene kit to a third grader at Escuela Integrada.

Robert Sullivan hands a dental hygiene kit to a third grader at Escuela Integrada.

“The poverty in other countries is worse than the poverty in the U.S.,” said Kevin Agner, 16. “I tried to come here with an open mind, to try new things and to immerse myself in their culture.”

Monday morning, Agner and eighteen-year-old Robert Sullivan handed out dental hygiene kits in the classrooms. The students at Escuela Integrada received a sand timer, toothbrush, toothpaste and information about oral health. Anderson Dental Group in Salisbury, North Carolina, donated the kits for all of the students in the school.

“Dental hygiene affects the health of your entire body,” said Paula Bohland, executive director of GRACES, the U.S. based nonprofit that supports Escuela Integrada. “The children at Escuela Integrada don’t have the opportunity to receive dental care elsewhere. The kits help them learn how to take care of their teeth and form lifelong healthy habits.”

Sullivan, Agner and the other mission group volunteers demonstrated how to use the sand timer to make sure the children brush their teeth for more than a few seconds. The children will take the dental hygiene kit home. They also have a dental hygiene kit at school to ensure that they brush their teeth at least two times per day.

“It’s important for anyone with resources to help out,” said Sullivan. “In America, we have the resources.”