November is traditionally the month where we focus on what we are most thankful for. At our Mobile Dental Clinic this past month, we experienced gratitude in immense ways. Jose is a fifteen-year-old boy we met through the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House. Jose uses a wheelchair and was visiting from Tijuana with his grandmother to receive critical spinal surgery. We discovered that Jose had never received dental treatment before and immediately enrolled him in our Mobile Dental Clinic. Jose had extreme dental work done over the next four days with the dental students concentrating on one quadrant of his mouth each day. His need was so extensive that he will continue to receive care from one of our professional dentist volunteers. At the end of his time at the clinic, Jose and his grandmother made a point of seeking out every dentist and staff member at the clinic to thank them for their time, care, and expertise. As everyone took in their words of appreciation, we all experienced our own feelings of gratitude as we watched Jose’s transformation and delight in the care he received, and appreciated the opportunity to work with this family so that Jose can achieve a healthier future.
Tales from the Clinic
It’s Mobile Dental Clinic time at Young & Healthy! We thought we would share some highlights from last year’s clinic that demonstrate the impact we are having on so many Pasadena-area families.
Jessica, a mom to three young children, was shocked to discover that her children had such bad issues with their teeth since they saw a dentist regularly. Their dentist will not work on baby teeth so the children had multiple cavities. Our USC dental students filled the cavities and cleaned their teeth helping to ensure that their permanent teeth will be healthy.
Olivia, a 10th grade student, is an unaccompanied minor who had a crown on her front tooth that was silver. Our MDC dentist was able to give her a porcelain crown which changed her entire demeanor. She left with the biggest smile on her face.
A family from the Philippines was visiting Pasadena for six weeks. They enrolled in our Mobile Dental Clinic and during the process we helped them not only get the children’s teeth cleaned, but also helped the entire family get all their immunizations and apply for Medi-Cal.
One high school student, Romeo, at the conclusion of his appointment received an oral hygiene kit. He had never been instructed on oral care before and proceeded to ask our staff member what every item in the kit was, how to use it, and what the best practices were to care for his teeth.
Often students who participate in the Mobile Dental Clinic have had previous traumatic experiences in the dental chair. Many of them keep coming back to our clinic because we helped them to overcome their previous trauma and they trust our dentists to make the experience pleasant. One parent mentioned that they had been there the entire week and didn’t see one child crying.
You Never Stop Learning
Young & Healthy is helping parents thrive! Our parent education classes are a valuable resource for parents in the greater Pasadena area. They are offered free of charge in both English and Spanish to caregivers throughout PUSD. Leila, a mom of three, was attending one of our recent classes at Octavia E. Butler Magnet Middle School and let our Parent Education Program Instructor know that she has been attending the parent education classes since her oldest daughter, Joyce, was in preschool. Joyce is now in middle school and Leila has valued the consistency and support from these classes for all these years. As she faced the challenges and discoveries that come with each age and child, Leila appreciated the safe environment where she felt comfortable and encouraged to share parenting triumphs and concerns while building connections with the other participants. Being a parent means you never stop learning and Young & Healthy is always there to help.
Keeping Our Eyes Open
A few weeks ago, Cynthia came into the office to register her two school-aged children for our first Back-to-School Vision Clinic in partnership with Helen Keller Int’l. After she received her appointment, our Care Team member noticed that she did not list any health insurance on her registration form. She stopped Cynthia on her way out and offered our health insurance enrollment services. Cynthia burst into tears. It turns out she had just lost her employment of 23 years and her husband was going to lose his employment at the end of the month. She hadn’t known what her family of five was going to do. She was so grateful to have help enrolling her family in Medi-Cal and a governmental food assistance program. These programs will help ease the stress of their unemployment. Our Care Team is always keeping their eyes open for ways to serve our community, so if you or someone you know needs help with insurance enrollment or access to pediatric healthcare, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to schedule an appointment.
It’s a Team Effort
Many times, a person who comes to Young & Healthy for help is assisted by several staff members. A great example of our brand of teamwork is our efforts to help Penelope. Our Program Assistant answered a phone call from a local Pasadena high school teacher and learned that Penelope, a high school student, had passed out in the school bathroom from extreme abdominal pain. Penelope had no health insurance so was nervous about asking for help. The Program Assistant immediately relayed the information to one of our Care Team members who called the school nurse to find out about Penelope’s medical status. The nurse referred Penelope and her sister (who is Penelope’s legal guardian) to our office. When they arrived, one of the Care Team members gave Penelope the necessary paperwork to have her emergency room visit donated by Huntington Hospital, a member of Young & Healthy’s network of professional volunteers. Another Care Worker immediately called Huntington Hospital ER to give them notice that Penelope and her sister were on their way. Penelope was diagnosed with a stomach virus that had caused a very painful inflammation of her liver. She was given intravenous antibiotics and is on the mend. Our Insurance Specialist is assisting Penelope’s sister with her Medi-Cal enrollment, which she initiated the previous week when her sister fell ill. As Penelope heals, she will see a primary care physician whose visit will either be donated through Young & Healthy’s volunteer network or will be covered by their new Medi-Cal insurance. At Young & Healthy we are all invested in our clients, and it is always a team effort.