This San Bernardino organization helps children smile – San Bernardino Sun

Since 1940, a group of volunteers in San Bernardino has been serving local children in need. Launched as the Toy Loan League by a small group of women, the group became the ninth chapter of the National Assistance League in 1947.

The following year, the chapter worked with a group of dentists to open the Dr. Earl R. Crane Children’s Dental Health Center. Since its inception, the all-volunteer organization has been helping children grin with confidence. The Assistance League provides general dentistry services to students in the San Bernardino Unified School District.

The organization visits schools throughout the district providing care without requiring insurance. Volunteers help with paperwork and organizing the program while the chapter’s dentist and dental hygienist works with the students. Last year the Assistance League provided 308 oral exams, 308 fluoride treatments and 799 sealants.

Members Margaret Ortiz and Phyllis Hough waiting to assist with student dental exams (Courtesy of Assistance League of San Bernardino)

Alejandra Galindo, D.D.S., is the dental center’s full-time dentist and is also bilingual, allowing the organization to better serve the Spanish-speaking community. Some children and their families are afraid to go to the dentist because of the language barrier or out of concern for not having insurance, according to Malla Tillman, the organization’s president.

Services are provided for $25 a visit, but no child is turned away. New patients living in the city of San Bernardino and surrounding communities in need of care are encouraged to make an appointment.

Assistance League of San Bernardino is also able to provide orthodontia for some children every year depending on  funding. This year the chapter provided braces for eight students.

“It’s amazing when you interview the students to discover how much braces can change the confidence of a person’s life,” Tillman said. “That we are able to do that for a limited amount of students every year is absolutely wonderful.”

Assistance League also provides clothing to children in need through its Operation School Bell Program. Once a month throughout the school year, children who have been referred by the school district have the opportunity to shop with a volunteer at Walmart. Students participating in the program also receive a backpack, a book and a “ditty bag.” Ditty bags are filled with hygiene items including shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant and a hairbrush.

“We have kids who have never had their own toothbrush or their own clean socks and pajamas,” Tillman said. “We hear these stories every month.”

Recently, the Assistance League of San Bernardino received a grant from the Community Impact Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The all-volunteer organization depends on grants, donations and fundraisers to provide services.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *