Maral Aghourian, Martine Anderson and Vanessa Del Vecchio set for a great Roaring Twenties Outreach Gala

December 2015

An annual event for the Community Outreach Program has become the norm for the Faculty of Dentistry. Since 2004 students, parents, faculty, staff and members of the Montreal community have come together to celebrate the wonderful service provided through the Faculty’s Outreach Program while raising money and creating awareness.

The student-led event gets bigger and better with each passing year, and this year will be no different. This year’s organisers, Maral Aghourian, Martine Anderson and Vanessa Del Vecchio have been putting their heart, soul and great ideas towards making this year’s event a huge success. The Roaring Twenties Outreach Gala will be held this year on February 18, 2016.

What made you want to be involved in organising the Outreach Gala this year?

Maral Aghourian: I witnessed firsthand during my first year how an educational institute can plant the seed of helping those in need by creating the opportunity for its students to experience the real meaning of reaching out. I think that the community service program helps to create future professionals that are socially and culturally aware. It is a privilege to be able to get such an education.
Organizing the Gala, which is actually one of the main fundraising events for the Outreach Program, means that I get to do my small part in ensuring that this program keeps on going for years to come, so that both the community and the future student dentists can benefit from it. Also, I love organizing events and have a lot of experience in it too. There is a certain rush and excitement in planning an event, and feeling the reciprocated energy of the people who attend on the day of the event. For me, that is a beautiful feeling to experience.

Martine Anderson: I’ve been involved with the Outreach Program as a volunteer for a long time, prior to becoming a dental student. It’s a service and an engagement to our community that I have always appreciated. I also attended the Chinese New Year’s dinner (before it became the Gala) for several years and loved the event. I wanted to continue to contribute to our community service program in a meaningful way. For me, this event is an opportunity to raise awareness about our program and educate people on the need that exists for adequate dental care in Montreal’s vulnerable populations.

Vanessa Del Vecchio: Growing up in Montreal I’ve had many experiences with its different populations and this has offered me a real life insight into the struggles of our people, specifically when it comes to receiving proper dental care. Our community service program inspires me, and I love the idea of going to our community members and taking away their pains and struggles. I felt the need to be part of this Outreach Gala Committee, because not only do I have amazing event planning skills and experience, but I truly want our community service program to succeed!

Why is it so important to raise awareness for community outreach?

Maral: I had already lived in Montreal for 13 years before hearing about the Outreach Program when I applied to dentistry at McGill. I was so impressed that such a program existed, but at the same time I wondered why I had never heard of it before. I believe such a noble program for a great cause needs to be shared with everyone. It is crucial for it to be known that even though we live in Montreal, there are still many people who are not fortunate enough to go see a dentist and take care of their oral health, which we know, is also very important for overall health.

Martine: There are many, many people in Montreal who cannot access good, adequate dental care because of financial, physical or social hardships, and this impacts not only their dentition, but also their total health and level of social integration. Our community service program seeks to break down barriers that prevent people from accessing dental care, and we are an essential service because we catch individuals who fall between the gaps in other social programs. When we come into the community and provide free dental care, our patient’s realize that they are valued and supported.

Maral: Raising awareness in the community, beyond just our McGill dentistry community, helps people become aware of the diversity and hardships within their own community. It also encourages others to take action and make a positive change in their community.

Vanessa: One of our goals for this year’s Outreach Gala is to raise awareness throughout as many members of our community as possible. This means that we want not only faculty members, students and alumni to come hear about our program, but most importantly we want our neighbours, family members, local businesses, etc. to know what this program is all about and how it is helping many people in need throughout Montreal!

Quite a few changes have been made from last year’s gala. What can attendees expect at this year’s event?

Vanessa: At this year’s gala we will be hosting more community members and more family members in addition to our faculty members, students, alumni, etc. than in past years. We want to share real patient stories and opinions about our community service program, so that the guests attending can really understand the intentions of Outreach.

Martine: Also, for the first time ever, the Outreach Gala’s theme will be the “Roaring Twenties” and will feature live music and dance performances throughout the night along this theme. Our event will feature a photo-booth with 1920’s props, silent auction and raffle, along with complimentary alcohol and mid-night desert table.

Vanessa: There will also be a cocktail hour with a champagne display and welcome glass and delicious canapés ready to eat as you come in.

Martine: Guests can enjoy a complimentary shuttle service to and from the event, which will depart at 2001 McGill College starting at 5:20 PM, and there will also a complementary valet service at the venue for those driving.

Why should everyone come to this year’s event?

Martine: The gala is first and foremost an amazing charity event, with the entire proceeds going to support our outreach program. Each ticket includes a donation to the program along with your meal and entertainment. Our event features amazing door prizes to local shops and restaurants across Montreal, and our silent auction is stocked with great items, such as a pair of Sugar Sammy tickets!

Vanessa: Why not?! Not only will this year’s Gala be filled with entertainment, fantastic raffle prizes, amazing food, two complementary cocktails of your choice, wine with your supper, but also at the end of the day, we’ll all be gathered under one roof to make a difference! Our community is coming together, with the opportunity to show a physical presence and support our program!

Buy your ticket for the event at

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