Those glitzy plush palaces of gaming and wagering in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Monte Carlo and on tribal land do all they can to convince those who indulge in gambling that they provide patrons with the opportunity to haul in such huge winnings they will be able to live a life of paradise.
Of course, in reality, each one of them can only offer one true sure bet: That sometimes you win, and sometimes — as in, most of the time — you lose.
While that’s just the way it is when it comes to taking your chances on cards or slot machines, it was a much different situation for those who attended the recent annual Kids’ Community Dental Clinic’s “Casino Paradise.”
The nonprofit organization calls the event “Casino” because it gives attendees the opportunity to take their chances as they would at gaming hubs. They call it “Paradise” because every participant is guaranteed to leave as a big winner by having had an enjoyable evening of high-rolling fun while raising funds to provide oral health-care services for children from low-income working families.
Always a well-attended event, close to 200 supporters filled the Hilltop Restaurant and Bar overlooking DeBell Golf Course for this year’s fundraiser. As the sun began to fade, the event, which has become a Burbank tradition, offered a great end-of-summer way to enjoy an evening of music, buffet dining and the perusal of an elaborate silent auction. Most importantly, it made it possible for Lady Luck to shine on those without insurance or the ability to pay to receive proper dental care.
This year’s attendees were welcomed by Dale Gorman, the clinic’s executive director, who introduced special guests including state Sen. Anthony Portantino and City Councilwoman Zizette Mullins.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic for their outstanding efforts in helping many children through this annual fundraising event,” said Mullins. “Your dedication to improving children’s oral health is truly commendable, and your impact on the community is invaluable. Keep up the great work.”
Thanking the dignitaries for their support and everyone including the clinic’s supporters, board members, staff, volunteer dentists, hygienists and dental students, Gorman said it is only through the combined efforts of all of those individuals and supporting companies that they can serve more than 11,000 children each year.
“Our clinic is dedicated to improving children’s oral health through quality dental care and preventive education for low-income families,” said Gorman. “Tonight, each of you has helped make that possible.”
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 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 Kid’s 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 continuous treatment.
Along with Portantino and Mullins, other notables in attendance at last week’s fundraiser were City Councilwoman Nikki Pérez, City Clerk Kimberley Clark, former Mayor Anja Reinke, and numerous clinic volunteers.
The evening was made possible by Gorman and members of the clinic’s board composed of Rene Benavides, Luis Centeno, George Saikali, Malena Otero, Dr. Timothy Knox, and Dan Sanchez. They were assisted by their many loyal sponsors and young women volunteers from the Glendale Assistance League and Burbank National Charity League.
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 email@example.com or (818) 563-1007.
First published in the October 7 print issue of the Burbank Leader.