Dental Assistant Student Recognized as an Outstanding Volunteer
If you ask DCTC Dental Assistant student Jenna Phillips why she gives back to the community she’ll tell you it’s because people need to work together to ensure a positive outcome in the community. Something that this single mother of three feels so passionately about. “The way you go about life is what you will get out of it,” she notes. “If you help someone and they feel good, then so will you.”
Jenna went back to school in 2014 as a non-traditional student and a single parent of three children, ages 5, 6 and 10, with a goal to provide a better life for her and her children. She had been commuting 65 miles–one way–to a job in Eden Prairie and missed so much time with her family. She knew she needed to find a good paying job close to home. And, that’s when she decided to come to DCTC. “I have always been fascinated with teeth,” she laughs. “I have no idea why, but I am!” She plans to graduate from the Dental Assisting program in May 2016 and then begin her 10-week internship in the field. DCTC’s Dental Assistant program prepares students for employment in dentistry as a Certified Dental Assistant and a Licensed Dental Assistant. Students are trained to expose and process dental x-ray films, master a variety of chairside skills and expanded functions delegated by the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry. Dental assistants provide direct and indirect patient care working under the supervision of a dentist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment as a dental assistant is expected to grow 31 percent by 2020, making it one of the top 30 fastest growing occupations in the U.S. with an average wage of $21.67 an hour.
Last year, her first year at DCTC, Jenna joined the Lions Club after much cajoling from her English teacher, Brett Kolles. “He’s a very pushy guy,” Jenna laughed. “His passion and enthusiasm for the program is absolutely awesome!” And, the feeling is mutual. Brett notes that Jenna is equally enthusiastic about Lion’s Club and helping others. “Although the DCTC Lions Club Board of Directors consists of a particularly strong group of leaders, each of whom has grown considerably, Jenna has really blossomed, ” he notes. “Jenna led the Lions on various projects including the latest service activity–Thanksgiving dinner for five DCTC families. Jenna has been active in the Polar Plunge, the Bed Race for Bridging, the Chili Cook Off – pretty much every major event the Lions put on. She’s either in it or leading it.”
Besides the Polar Plunge, the Bed Race for Bridging, and the Chili Cook Off, Jenna has been a big part of something that gives back to the DCTC campus and the community. She’s collected Teens for Jeans, participated in New Student Orientation, various blood drives and will be leaving soon with a group of students to work with Habitat for Humanity.
Jenna was awarded the NFL Community Quarterback Award/Vikings Junior Community Quarterback Award at a Lions Club meeting this month. The program honors young individuals who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving the communities in which they live through volunteerism. NFL Charities (through the Minnesota Vikings) award a $1,000 grant in the name of the award recipient to the nonprofit organization where they serve. Jenna is excited that this money will go to the school to help fund other charitable events.
Her advice to DCTC students? “Find something that interests you and get involved,” she says. “We’re all here to learn, find that right job and get a good career. Being a part of a club like the Lions Club can help you network to make those connections that can lead to a successful career.”
For more information on DCTC’s Lions Club, contact:
DCTC Campus Lions Club Adviser
Lions Club: We Rock and Roar
For information about the Dental Assistant program, contact:
Admissions Outreach Coordinator
DCTC Lions Club members: Left to right – Keith Pritchett, Patrick Lair, Brett Kolles, Jenna Phillips, Whitney Bunce, Brandy Boyer and Jason Farrell