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Life and Arts

On the Town: It’s no gamble: Casino event raises funds for children’s dental clinic

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Welcoming supporters to the “Casino Paradise” fundraiser on Saturday were, from left, Silvia Mancini, Sean Aquino and Dale Morimizu Gorman.
(Photo by David Laurell)

When you cross the threshold of a casino, there is only one sure bet: Sometimes you win, and sometimes — as in, most of the time — you lose.

While that’s a simple fact, it’s much different at the Kid’s Community Dental Clinic’s annual “Casino Paradise” fundraiser that was held this past Saturday evening.

At this casino, participants are all guaranteed to leave big winners by having an enjoyable evening of high-rolling fun at the gaming tables, while raising funds to provide oral health-care services for children from low-income working families.

The event, held each year on the plaza of Media Studios North, has become a tradition that offers an end-of-summer evening to enjoy live music, sample exotic beverages, peruse an elaborate silent auction and tangle with Lady Luck.

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This year’s attendees were welcomed by Dale Morimizu Gorman, the clinic’s executive director, and Sean Aquino, president of the clinic’s board of directors.

“This is always a great evening that plays an important part in helping us do what we do,” Aquino said.

“We served over 14,000 children this past year, and our goal for the coming year is to establish and adopt an updated strategic plan to make sure we can continue to provide an exceptional high level of service to those who otherwise could not afford to see a dentist,” he added.

Created to fill a crucial need after the pediatric dental clinic at St. Joseph Medical Center closed in 1997, the doors of what was initially known as the Kids’ Community Clinic of Burbank opened in the Burbank YMCA in 2002.

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In 2004, with strong support from local businesses and individuals to expand, the clinic’s name was changed to emphasize its commitment to provide treatment to families who live outside Burbank.

Today, housed in a free-standing location on the campus of the William McKinley Elementary School, the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic is dedicated to improving children’s oral health through quality dental care and preventive education for children under 18 years old from low-income families.

Staffed by local dentists who volunteer their time and services, the clinic emphasizes education, early intervention and continuous dental diagnostics, along with preventive and treatment services.

Among the special guests in attendance at the fundraiser were Vice Mayor Sharon Springer, Councilman Bob Frutos, and three former clinic volunteers, Nicole Siripon, Celesther Ramos and Fernanda Silva, who are all now each studying to become dentists and are looking forward to the day they can return to the clinic to offer an even higher level of volunteer service.

Last week’s casino fundraiser was made possible by members of the clinic’s board including Silvia Mancini, Renee Johnson, Alfred Antoun, Ross Necessary, Thomas Engman, Alejandra Gillette-Teran, Rene Benavides, Nancy Guillen, Bradley Recker, Peter Shimizu, David Dobson, Tim Knox and Dan Sanchez.

For more information about services at and giving opportunities to the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic, visit www.kidsclinic.org.

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