First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Whether you’re in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Monte Carlo or at a tribal casino, once you enter one of those plush palaces of gaming and wagering, there is only one sure bet: Sometimes you win, and sometimes — as in, most of the time — you lose.
While that’s a fact of life when it comes to rolling the dice, spinning a wheel, or taking your chances on cards or slot machines, it was a much different situation for those who attended last week’s Kids’ Community Dental Clinic’s annual “Casino Paradise.”
The event is called “casino” because it offers the opportunity for attendees to take their chances at the aforementioned gaming hubs. It is called “paradise” because unlike casinos, every participant was guaranteed to leave as a big winner by having had an enjoyable evening of high-rolling fun at the tables while raising funds to provide oral healthcare services for children from low-income working families.
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, “Casino Paradise” was back in action at the Hilltop Restaurant and Bar overlooking DeBell Golf Course. As the sun began to set, close to 200 supporters of the clinic gathered for the evening that, along with having become a Burbank tradition, offers a great end-of-summer way to enjoy an evening of music, buffet dining and perusing an elaborate silent auction while tangling with Lady Luck.
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This year’s attendees were welcomed by Dale Gorman, the clinic’s executive director, and Thomas Engman, president of the clinic’s board of directors, who introduced special guests, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes.
“Our clinic is dedicated to improving children’s oral health through quality dental care and preventive education for low-income families,” Gorman said. “Tonight, along with our special guests, we want to thank everyone, our staff, volunteer dentists, hygienists and dental students, and all of our supporters, who make it possible for us to serve more than 11,000 children each year.”
Created to fill a crucial need after the pediatric dental clinic at St. Joseph Medical Center closed in 1997, the doors of what was initially known as the Kids’ Community Clinic of Burbank opened in the Burbank YMCA in 2002.
In 2004, with strong support from local businesses and individuals to expand, the clinic’s name was changed to emphasize its commitment to also provide treatment to families who live outside Burbank.
Today, housed in a free-standing location on the campus of the William McKinley Elementary School, the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic is dedicated to improving children’s oral health through quality dental care and preventive education for children under 18 years old.
Staffed by local dentists who volunteer their time and services, the clinic emphasizes education, early intervention and dental diagnostics, along with preventive and treatment services.
Dental disease among children is highly preventable, and yet it persists in epidemic proportions. In order to address the progressive nature of dental disease, those dedicated to the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic know it is critical to build an oral health services delivery system that emphasizes taking care of issues before they become serious. They are committed to helping families overcome the financial, educational, cultural, geographic and psycho-social barriers to getting quality dental care by providing outreach, counseling and education in a variety of settings which assures early and regular treatment.
Along with Schiff and Talamantes, other notables in attendance at last week’s fundraiser were state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Vice Mayor Konstantine Anthony, Councilwoman Sharon Springer, school board members Charlene Tabet and Steve Frintner, and numerous clinic volunteers.
The evening was made possible by Gorman, Engman and members of the clinic’s board composed of Rene Benavides, Luis Centeno, Renee Johnson, Silvia Mancini, George Saikali, Malena Otero, Alejandra Gillette-Teran, Dr. Timothy Knox and Dan Sanchez.
For more information about services and giving opportunities at the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic, visit kidsclinic.org.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.