Javier is five. His family is from Guatemala. Spanish is the family’s first language. When our dentist saw Javier, she saw a cavity in every one of his teeth. His mother tells us that he could not eat hot or cold food. His oral health had gotten so bad that he couldn’t even eat tortillas.
The entire six members of the household share one toothbrush. And, it is not always used.
Sadly, for children like Javier, the constant aching of each tooth has been such a daily occurrence it is assumed to be normal. The children we see often have cavities in almost all of their baby teeth. It starts with baby bottle syndrome and only worsens without intervention. Time and again when asked if their teeth hurt, these kids say, “no.” Sadly, it isn’t until they have restorative care that they realize they’ve been in constant pain. This prevents them from focusing in school, and it leads to health problems and serious lifelong dental problems, if left untreated.
Because Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center was there for Javier, he has a chance to have a healthy life. Plus, every member of his family now owns his or her very own toothbrush!
Through education, restorative care and prevention, we are making a difference in the lives of thousands of children like Javier. This then has a ripple effect onto the entire community, not just for today, but for a brighter and healthier future.
JoAnn and Kim
Joann and Kim are quite the mother-daughter pair. They spend most of their days together working in the salon that Joann owns and runs in Hillsboro. Kim is Joann’s daughter and was born with spina bifida, a brain and spinal cord disorder. Now at 38, Kim helps her mom run their shop.
As an adult with a disability, Kim has insurance through the Oregon Health Plan and seeks healthcare at the Virginia Garcia Hillsboro Clinic just up the street from the salon. Kim and Joann have been very happy with the kindness they are shown and the quality of care they receive at Virginia Garcia.
As Kim and Joann waited to see their provider one day, they began to take notice of the large number of babies who were waiting with their moms or dads for healthcare. They did some research and found out that the Health Center treats over 35,000 patients each year, 39% of whom are under the age of 18. In fact, Virginia Garcia providers helped deliver over 700 healthy babies last year.
Joann decided that this was her chance to give back to the community and to Virginia Garcia. She began knitting baby hats, blankets, and other items to donate to the clinic to give to babies. Not only did she start knitting herself, she also recruited a large team of people to knit and crochet from church and the salon, and she convinced other friends to get involved as well.
Joann organized a monthly knitters circle and named her group, “Knit One for Babies.” Members of her group purchase their own supplies and knit and crochet baby items of all shapes and sizes. These items go to babies in Washington and Yamhill Counties through Virginia Garcia’s clinics and also through their outreach to migrant farmworking communities. Thank you Joann for your desire to give back to the community – you are making a positive difference in the lives of our patients.