Leadership Burbank class members unveiled improvements they made at the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic during a reception Sunday at the facility on West Elmwood Avenue.
Among the changes is an outdoor storage module that frees up space inside the clinic, officials said.
The class adopted the project because of their values — community, family, health and children, said Renee Johnson, project leader.
It was a project that allowed everyone in class to have a hands-on experience, said Brad Recker, physical project leader. They corrected water damage to the outside of the clinic, painted the building, installed rain gutters, improved the water drainage, added paving stones and built the base for the storage shed in the yard.
The class was originally asked to build a storage shed, but after they toured the facility, they asked Executive Director Dale Gorman for a wish list.
“We are pretty much accomplishing everything on that list,” Recker said.
The clinic provides services for children whose parents can’t afford dental treatment, don’t have insurance or don’t qualify for government dental insurance programs, officials said, and treatment is available to children living throughout Southern California. A visit is $15.
Donating time to the clinic are 30 dentists, six dental hygienists, 55 dental hygienist students from Pasadena City College and West L.A. City College and several volunteers including Vicki Oldham, who gives 40 hours a week. The two full-time paid employees are Executive Director Gorman and pediatric dental assistant Ana Gomez. About 7,000 children a year come through the clinic.
“Dental decay is the biggest reason children miss school,” Oldham said.
To remedy this, clinic officials and volunteers perform outreach examinations to 30 schools a year throughout the San Fernando Valley, Oldham said. They see 4,000 students in kindergarten, second and fifth grades. Some schools schedule all-day events and students from all grades have an opportunity to be screened and receive dental education, she added.
“If children have tooth decay and their parents don’t have insurance or are low-income, they can come to the dental clinic,” Oldham said. “If they have insurance, we encourage parents to get them to the dentist.”
If a child needs a root canal or braces, the clinic provides referrals to low-cost dental providers, Oldham said, and cost depends on ability to pay.