Whenever Vanessa Farrell would get her teeth checked out, her dentist would compliment her and tell her how much cleaner her teeth were than most other kids her age.So, when it came time for the 14-year-old Hampton Bays resident to give back to her community, she thought the best way would be to share her dental hygiene knowledge with a younger generation.
Last month, Vanessa completed her service project to earn her Silver Award, the second-highest honor in the Girl Scouts organization, by illustrating a children’s coloring book and presenting it to a local preschool class.
The book, titled “Starting Early: Oral Care for Kids!” uses characters Buddy Brush and Fiona Floss to demonstrate the proper ways for children to keep their teeth clean. Vanessa, who is a member of Girl Scout Troop 789, made replicas of the activity book’s main characters using household items for a presentation she gave on September 17 to a group of preschoolers from Our Lady of the Hamptons School who had gathered at the parish of the Church of St. Rosalie’s in Hampton Bays.
“It was nice talking in front of them,” said Vanessa, who should receive her Silver Award in the next few weeks. “They were really good listeners and they were interested in what I had to say. I was a lot less nervous than I usually am.”
Vanessa said she worked on the project, off and on, for about three months during the summer months, illustrating the entire book by hand.
She presented her finished project to Dr. Nancy Cosenza of Hampton Pediatric Dental Associates in Southampton and gave her more than 50 copies that she can distribute to her younger patients, explained Vanessa’s mother, Laura, one of the leaders of Troop 789.
A freshman at Hampton Bays High School, Vanessa said she enjoys math and science classes, and is looking to taking honors classes. She is now on the varsity field hockey team and wants to join the high school’s indoor track and softball squads.
She has been involved in the Girl Scouts since she was in first grade and plans on working toward her Gold Award, the organization’s highest honor soon, although she said she isn’t quite sure what she will do for it yet.
Ms. Farrell said she is proud of her daughter’s accomplishments thus far and she’s looking forward to seeing what she does next.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” she said.