SANTA CLARITA – Residents and business owners are encouraged to put a smile on the faces of underprivileged children by contributing to the Foundation for Children’s Dental Health’s Adopt-A-Smile campaign. The Foundation for Children’s Dental Health provides screenings, dental education and treatments for children in the Santa Clarita Valley who could not otherwise afford to see a dentist. This is the first year the Saugus-based nonprofit organization, which is funded mainly through grants and donations, has attempted a mass-mailing fundraising campaign. About 400 cards were sent out two weeks ago to people who have attended past fundraisers, local dentists and people who have contributed to the organization in the past. Now the group is trying to get the word out to people who were not on the mailing list. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “Many people in the community don’t know about the foundation,” said Executive Director Ericka Watson. “We’re just trying to get the word out so that other people who might not be familiar with the foundation can contribute. “We tried to time it with the end of the year, when people do more giving.” Throughout the year, volunteers from the Foundation for Children’s Dental Health visit local elementary schools to provide oral hygiene education, free dental screenings and emergency dental services to children from low-income families. The screenings identify which children need to be treated at the organization’s annual weeklong dental clinic. With help from the community, the foundation hopes to hold two clinics in 2006 and help twice as many children. “Each clinic costs around $45,000, so we will need $90,000 just for clinics alone,” Watson said. “We’re hoping to treat about 100 to 120 children at the next clinic.” The group’s next clinic is scheduled for May 19-26, and in addition to funding, volunteers are needed to help with the clinics. Dentists are provided by the University of Southern California’s School of Dentistry. Volunteers help with set-up, registration, cleanup and translating and are needed every day during the weeklong clinic. No dentists are needed for the clinics; however, the foundation is always looking for local dentists to participate in its emergency referral network, which helps children with dental emergencies between clinics. After the clinics, children who were embarrassed to smile have a smile on their face, and many children are finally without mouth pain, Watson said. “We have some before and after photos that speak more than words,” she said. “The parents and the children are very grateful for the program we have.” HOW TO HELP The Foundation for Children’s Dental Health is seeking donations and volunteers in order to continue its mission to provide free dental services to children in the Santa Clarita Valley who could not otherwise afford to see a dentist. Here’s how you can help. Individual/business donor: Drop off or mail a contribution to The Foundation for Children’s Dental Health, 27943 Seco Canyon Road, No. 210, Santa Clarita, CA 91350. A donation of $50 will provide one full dental screening for a needy child; $100 will provide dental education for more than 100 local children; $300 will provide more than 400 children with toothbrushes; and $350 will provide full dental services to one needy child. Local dentists: The foundation is always looking for more local dentists who can volunteer their time and expertise. To volunteer your professional services, call the foundation at (661) 296-8515. Parents: Parents can help by volunteering at clinics and educating their children on the importance of good oral hygiene. Local school leaders: They can help in the fight against irresponsible eating habits at school. Business sponsorship: Local businesses can sponsor the Foundation for Children’s Dental Health throughout the year by sponsoring supplies for its various events. — Sharon Cotal, (661) 257-5256 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!