Fifth-graders donate $700 to clinic

A class of fifth-graders at Top of the World Elementary School may never know the babies who will benefit from their gift of more than $700 to the Laguna Beach Community Clinic.

But they do know it was appreciated.

Clinic officials visited the school March 25 to express their thanks for the money the students donated to support the neonatal program at the clinic and to present a plaque to Susan Dick's class.

"It is amazing that in the fifth grade you are already involved in community service," said Dr. Niall Cullen, clinic gynecologist and obstetrician.

The students studied Laguna's nonprofit organizations before selecting the clinic as the recipient, Dick said.

"What appealed to them was that the clinic cares for babies," Dick said. "They thought the clinic responds to a real need in the community."

The students sold items from candles to dolls that they made at the school's holiday craft fair.

The certificate presented to the class said it all: "In Appreciation. The babies who depend on the Laguna Beach Community Clinic for their health care are thankful for the support of Mrs. Dick's fifth-grade class and their heartfelt donation."

Clinic director Dr. Tom Bent, who could not attend the visit to the class, signed the plaque.

"This is the best gift of the year," he said when he received the check.

The money will be used to buy baskets stuffed with blankets, formula, a teddy bear, other necessities and an information booklet for new moms.

"Babies don't come with instructions," said Mary Nieto, who prepares the baskets.

The visit by the clinic staff also afforded the students an opportunity to ask questions.

"Is there any time when it's too busy at the clinic?" Austin Hamlin asked.

Sayegh said that it was sometimes like the busy emergency room where she used to work. And it is busier in winter.

Matt Ghere wanted to know if the clinic was busier during the flood, which she said it was.

Fortunately there was no major damage to the clinic, Sayegh added.

The visit concluded with an invitation to the students to come to the clinic and see for themselves how their contribution was used.

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