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Centre Volunteers in Medicine gives children a reason to smile

Jennifer Troutman, a dental hygenist, and Ron Brungo, dentist, give Camryn Shipe, 9, a cleaning during Give Kids a Smile on Friday, April 17, 2015.
Jennifer Troutman, a dental hygenist, and Ron Brungo, dentist, give Camryn Shipe, 9, a cleaning during Give Kids a Smile on Friday, April 17, 2015. CDT photo

They walked away with new eyes, new smiles and some new knowledge about how to stay healthy.

The 13th annual Give Kids a Smile: Vision for the Future health care day was hosted Friday in State College thanks to Centre Volunteers in Medicine. More than 50 kids received free dental and vision care, spokeswoman Sue Forster said, and they were given vouchers for free audiology tests.

“The big thing is the fact that we’re seeing a lot of new kids this year,” Forster said. “A lot of kids are being sent on for additional vision care in addition to the usual care we give.

“It’s been a great day,” she said.

The Give Kids a Smile program offers free dental and vision exams for any Centre County child between the ages of 1 and 18 who doesn’t have dental or vision insurance.

One of the most important aspects of the day is education, she said. Hygienists sit down with each child and discuss the importance of dental care and keeping up with brushing and flossing.

They’re trying to stop the cycle, Forster said. Kids see the generations before them with dentures, and figure they’ll have dentures someday as well. They’re taught that, with proper care, they don’t have to lose their teeth.

CVIM is also working on trying to get more kids taken care of each year, she said. With only about 50 kids getting care each year, they can be taken care of in about half a day.

“We want to do a full day next year,” she said.

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