Faculty and resident students at the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry, NCEF Pediatric Dental Center, funded through the Naples Children & Education Foundation, founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, recently spent two weeks in Immokalee operating a free clinic to serve children in Guadalupe Center’s Summer Enrichment Program.
More than 160 kindergartners, first- and second-graders in Guadalupe Center’s Summer Enrichment Program received free screenings, fluoride treatments and sealants provided by residents and hygienists affiliated with UF’s dental school. The outreach team also demonstrated proper brushing techniques.
“Children in Immokalee have limited access to medical and dental services because there are not many providers in town, and with so many families here struggling financially, the cost of services and treatments often is too high,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of the Guadalupe Center. “The University of Florida and NCEF have been great partners in ensuring that students in rural communities like Immokalee still have access to high-quality dental services and education.”
In addition to the summer program, UF’s pediatric dental team visits Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program four times during the school year for screenings, treatments, education and referrals. Summer screenings found that about 10 percent of children had serious dental health issues, including abscesses, rapid decay, swelling and toothaches. UF referred parents of children with oral concerns to local agencies for continued care, and its staff also will follow up with families to ensure that children receive the recommended course of treatment.
The UF summer clinic began Monday, June 25 and ran through Friday, July 6.
About Guadalupe Center
Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven, nonprofit organization with proven results in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education and fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. With a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center is proud of the children’s accomplishments: 94 percent exceed kindergarten readiness measures, 100 percent of Tutor Corps high school seniors graduate high school and are accepted into college, and more than 90 percent graduate with a post-secondary degree.