Dental hygiene student Desiree Kirch (standing) volunteered at the Prairie State College Dental Hygiene Clinic to treat seven children visiting the United States from two Ukraine orphanages. | Supplied photo
Updated: November 28, 2013 6:02AM
Ten Prairie State College dental hygiene students and two of their professors and a supervising dentist recently did volunteer work at the college’s dental hygiene clinic on the school’s campus in Chicago Heights.
Their patients were seven children visiting the United States from two Ukraine orphanages. Most of the children, ranging in age from 6 to 15, had never received any type of dental care.
The college received a request to provide dental services to the kids, who were staying with area families connected to several local churches.
Barb Kelly-Gorbitz, dental hygiene professor, and Dolores Ickis, dental hygiene program chair, decided it would be a great community service project for the dental hygiene students to work with the children. They requested volunteers, and 10 students agreed to assist. Dr. Susan Biegel, the program’s supervising dentist, also volunteered her services.
The children were given free X-rays, cleanings, dental exams and sealants if necessary.
“Had the faculty and students in the dental hygiene program not volunteered their time and service, the expenses incurred would have been covered by the host families. This burden would be in addition to numerous other expenses, and the dental checkups might not have been possible,” Prairie State College Board Chair Jacqueline Agee said.
Student volunteers included Jessica Fitzgerald, Pavielle Escobedo, Kat Marcus, Katherine Fawkes, Stephanie Stellete, Nina Degan-Lentz, Jessica Fitsgerald, Maria Vega, Jessica Moziewicz and Desiree Kirsch.
The children’s visit was sponsored by Love Cradle International, which worked with four area churches and several host families. The children were visiting for about four weeks over the summer, and one condition of their visit was that they receive dental care.
“We had no trouble at all finding willing students to come in on a Friday in the summer. They were all very responsive,” Kelly-Gorbitz said.