Twenty-four year old Samantha Cook of Harris County was raised with the belief that you should always help those who need it. The 2011 dual enrollment graduate of Columbus Technical College’s certified nurse assisting program and Harris County High School is taking that conviction all the way to Haiti. Her father Sam is an instructor in the Columbus Technical College automotive technology program and mom Sharron is the program director for the dental assisting program. Being around dentistry her whole life rubbed off on Samantha and after finishing her bachelor’s degree in health science at CSU, Cook is now a junior at the Dental College of Augusta with an anticipated graduation date of May, 2019.
Samantha Cook shows off some of the dresses she'll be bringing to children in Haiti
Dental care in underdeveloped countries is imperative. That’s why Samantha and several of her classmates will be leaving for Haiti in early May to work with dentists and oral surgeons in providing free dental care for what is expected to be hundreds of people. The students are packing some additional brightness in their luggage for dozens of girls in the form of something called “pillowcase dresses.”
CTC Faculty, Staff, and family members got together to pack the dresses that Samantha will be bringing to Haiti.
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer photojournalist Mike Haskey interviewed Sharron about Samantha's journey.
“Everyone in our group of 20 was asked to bring 50 dresses. My mom heard about it and just took off with the idea,” Cook said. “A lot of her friends and co-workers here at Columbus Tech helped sew the dresses and donated money for fabric and other materials. I think the girls will be thrilled! I just like giving back to people who need help. Doing something simple like this helps fulfill my love for dentistry and it’s why I got into it in the first place.”
Sharron Cook can’t remember a time when her little girl didn’t want to be a dentist.
“She always knew what she wanted to be,” Sharron remembered. “She’d even dress up as a dentist for Halloween. She applied one time and got in to dental school.”
Sharron feels the kids in Haiti will greet Samantha with enthusiasm and love since "she looks like they do and they'll be more comfortable."
Samantha says she’d like to focus on general dentistry so she can help as many people as possible and dreams of one day opening a community dental clinic.
“By giving to others, you get so much in return,” Samantha said with a smile.
Thanks to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer for covering the "Pack & Pray" event on Thursday, April 26 where Columbus Technical College peers got together and packed up the dresses.