A Friend In Need

June-Dental-Health-Arlington


Have you ever heard of Dental Health Arlington?

The non-profit organization runs two programs that help thousands of adults and children, thousands without insurance who would otherwise not receive any treatment.

The first program is a dental clinic,

which provides low-cost services to qualified residents of Tarrant County. The staff at the clinic sees 2,500 patients per year, most for routine dental care, the type of work that you would have done in a private practice. But the staff also handles several oral emergencies per day.

The second program is a school-based,

preventive program called “SMILES” that benefits 8,500 children in area elementary schools. SMILES sends a dental team into 29 different Title I schools in Arlington. (The program will soon be extended into 10 more schools. This extension is being accomplished through a grant received from Women Inspiring Philanthropy.) Students receive an oral health education, a new toothbrush, and are screened for decay.

With parental permission, kids whose six-year molars have erupted and are in good health have a sealant applied to the teeth, right there in the school, using portable dental equipment. Students also receive fluoride treatments — and all of the work is done free of charge.

But this organization whose mission is to help others, is in desperate need of your help

The non-profit has been in its current location on North East Street for 13 years. The building sits in the middle of the construction that is taking place in downtown Arlington. It is not being torn down. But Nancy Blinn, executive director of Dental Health Arlington, says the building owners have a new vision for the space, “We are in the line of fire,” Blinn says, “so they are wanting us to move out of there, sooner than later.”

Dental Health Arlington’s lease is up in January but the staff is hoping to be out by October. The organization has found a new space in the United Way Human Services Building at Cooper and Sanford. But according to Blinn, it’s not move-in ready. “Unfortunately,” she says, “we have to put the plumbing in and basically build it from the ground up because it’s not a dental facility.”

The conversion is expensive.

Likewise, the cost of moving, which is why Dental Health Arlington is kicking off a capital campaign to raise $350,000.

“We are in a place of definite need at this point, and any kind of donation is very, very helpful,” says Blinn.

If there is any money left after the relocation, it will be used to upgrade some of the dental equipment.

Dental Health Arlington held a small event last month to officially announce the campaign. There are no other events planned at this time, but Blinn says DHA will soon be sending out a mailer with more information. There may also be sponsorship opportunities available in the new space to help generate additional funds. Until then, Dental Health Arlington is accepting donations online.

If you would like to learn more about the organization and how it helps the community, go to dentalhealtharlington.org. You can also contribute to the capital campaign at that site.

Toni Randle-Cook

Toni Randle-Cook is a contributing writer for AT Magazine.