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$40,000 donation is for the kids

Posted: September 10, 2008 9:47 p.m.
Updated: November 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Left to right: Department administrator Debbie Meschkay, RN, and Dr. David Wong talk about local nonprofit organizations to which Kaiser Permanente has donated a collective $40,000, Wednesday at Kaiser Valencia.

 
Mental health services for Santa Clarita Valley kids, health screening for local school children and dental hygiene for pre-school students.

These are a few of the programs that will continue to serve the youth of the Santa Clarita Valley, courtesy of a $40,000 donation from Kaiser Permanente to five local nonprofit organizations.

During a ceremony at Kaiser Permanente's Santa Clarita medical offices in Valencia recently, Carousel Ranch received $5,000 for its fitness therapy and nutrition education program,

The SCV Child and Family Center was awarded $5,000 for its school-based mental health services, Samuel Dixon Family Health Center received $15,000 for its school-based health screening program, The Foundation for Children's Dental Health was honored with $10,000 for its initiatives in pre-schools and teaching dental hygiene skills, and WeSPARK was given $5,000 for its mental health program for people affected by cancer.

This year marked the first year that Carousel Ranch and WeSPARK were given money by Kaiser.

The group health-care organization received nine applications, and the five nonprofits were selected based on their needs, service to the local community and connection to the philosophies of Kaiser Permanente.

During the presentation, Dr. Marc Hoffman, assistant area medical director, addressed the group of local leaders and nonprofit representatives, saying that Kaiser treats one in four Santa Clarita Valley residents, making its presence in the community important.

Before the ceremony, Ifsha Buttitta, director of public relations for the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center, said the $15,000 goes toward the school-based health screening program that the nonprofit organization has been offering local low-income families for more than two decades.

The center offers three locations throughout the Santa Clarita Valley with 80 percent of the patient population consisting of women and children, Buttitta said.

"We really stress the importance of early checkups, physical exams and sports checkups," she said. "We really focus on keeping children healthy."

The Foundation for Children's Dental Health is a young organization focused on promoting hygiene education in young kids to prevent cavities, according to Ericka Watson, executive director, and Brendie Bandara, president of the organization. The organization frequently treats kids who lack dental hygiene.

Recently, Watson said a 4-year-old was treated for 16 cavities, reflecting a need for the organization's efforts.

"There is a huge need out here," she said.

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