Kids have rarely ever been so happy to see the dentist.
The sons and daughters of immigrant parents played in the sun outside Hillcrest Church while they waited to get their teeth cleaned last week.
This was the first time that many of them had ever seen a dentist, according to Martitha May, executive director of the Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center (KIAC).
May, an immigrant herself, has fought for years to provide free dental care for immigrants who found themselves unable to afford it.
Despite the KIAC’s limited funds, May said that she has been very determined to get what she feels the community she looks after needs.
“We don’t have much money,” May said. “So I have to pull favors from friends here and there.”
So, when the chance came to partner with some of those friends — Doctors Michelle Caldier and Marta Costa and members of Olympic College’s nursing program — she took it.
The doctors, their staff, and nursing students from OC donated time and resources to KIAC, providing much-needed exams, X-rays, and fillings to those that attended.
Some required surgery; that, too, was done free of charge.
May described the event as a big success, noting that almost 20 people were seen on the first day alone.
The most recent clinic, hosted on July 9, was the third time dental care was provided by the partnership in the last few weeks.
KIAC offers many other services to immigrants, including assistance with gaining citizenship, learning English, and understanding mail and legal forms, among other things.
KIAC is a non-profit organization that provides services for immigrants from 20 different countries based on donations and volunteerism.
By Ryan Robinson, intern
Ryan Robinson can be reached at email@example.com.