For uninsured families, the task of putting food on the table is often difficult enough without having to worry about medical care.
“Unfortunately, families with no insurance who are working hard to provide a roof over their head let vision and dental care take a back seat,” said Centre Volunteers in Medicine Executive Director Cheryl White.
In a lot of cases, she said, the children in these families have never had the chance to see a vision or dental specialist.
To help these children, CVIM is hosting its 13th annual Give Kids a Smile: Vision for the Future health care day on April 17. Any Centre County child between ages 1 and 18 without dental or vision insurance is welcomed for a free examination with treatment if necessary.
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Families who are 200 percent below the federal poverty line are encouraged to call CVIM to make an appointment by Friday, White said. Interested families can find information through the CVIM website.
“We need kids,” she said. “Unfortunately, we can handle more kids than we get.”
The clinic can handle about 100 children, she said. Last year, about 50 children were able to get exams.
Free dental care is provided by Pediatric Dental Care, she said, including exams, X-rays, cleaning, fillings and sealant placement.
Nittany Eye Associates offers a free vision exam, she said, and many children leave the clinic with glasses.
A voucher is provided for a hearing exam from Albrecht Audiology, she said.
“We do basic examinations,” White said. “If the kids need some sort of treatment that can be done that day, we can also do that.”
Anyone needing more extensive care can get a free follow-up with the provider whose care they need, she said.
“It’s not often we come across a kid who needs extensive help,” she said, “but it happens.”
White extended a special thanks to the Kiwanis Club of State College for its financial support.
“It really is just a great day,” she said