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Dental Students Give Back to the Community, Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

It came naturally for the dental students, filling cracks and cavities in mortar between bricks and flagstones.

Eight third-year students at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry joined a dozen other volunteers this week to point or repair masonry facades and carry out other construction chores on three row houses in East Baltimore for Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (HHC), based in Baltimore.

Dental student Mayokun Demehin said, "This is something I have always liked and it is a good way to help people get into a new home." Some volunteers wore the HHC T-shirt displaying the theme Let's Build Something Together.

Before work began at 9 a.m., Matt Herzberg, HHC volunteer manager, explained that the goal of the organization is to eradicate poverty housing. "Meanwhile, the biggest thing today is safety," he said, as the students tried on hard hats. "The second is learning, then to be productive and have fun."

The students also got a concentrated dose of the humanitarian values of the worldwide affordable housing enterprise while helping new homebuyers transform a house into a home at no profit through no-interest mortgage loans, said Maddie Manlove, executive and public policy assistant at HHC.

Several of the dental students worked in a particular home recently purchased by Harry Braxton, a native of Baltimore. While greeting the volunteers, standing on a canvas tarp in his hardwood floor front room, he said, "I just love it. I have seen this place transformed." Braxton is pictured above with dental students Jason Barrett and Elyce Saucier. Previously HHC volunteers gutted the house Braxton subsequently bought.

All new utility infrastructures, floors, walls, ceilings, trim, and new energy-efficient windows have been added to the house.

Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has helped build more than 400,000 decent, affordable houses and served more than 2 million people around the world. In its region of Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has completed more than 295 homes, which now house more than 900 family members, half of which are children.

Entering Braxton's home with hard hat and a wide smile, student Demehin added, "I think it is great that students from this community come out and help to build in this city. It is great for the students to give something back."

The other third-year dental students volunteering were: Jason Marrazzo, Tristan Collins, Brianna Beckmann, Jessica Moore, and Mark Nesbitt.

Posting Date: 08/19/2011
Contact Name: Steve Berberich
Contact Phone: 410-706-0023
Contact Email: sberb001@umaryland.edu