As locally founded nonprofit, Just Kids Dental (JKD), celebrates its 10thyear of delivering oral health services to school children across the Northland, it reports Sappi North America is supporting these services for a fifth consecutive year. Sappi recently announced it would issue JKD a grant of $1,500 this year, bringing its total contributions to JKD to $6,000.
Stacey Anderson, Two Harbors native and registered dental hygienist, first started delivering oral health services directly to Northland schools in 2006. She found the need for these services alarming back then, and this need has only increased over the years.
"I knew there was an access to care crisis," said Anderson, founder/executive director of Just Kids Dental, “but I never dreamed how wide the true scope of need had become. Often our staff can't believe how much pain some students are in — bleeding gums, abscessed teeth, decay so bad, they can see down to the roots. It has been so rewarding to help these children get the care they need, so they can concentrate on their school work instead of the pain."
JKD served 158 students that first year in operation. It has since served thousands of children. Its services have expanded beyond school clinics to an oral health education program that will be presented to area schools and 100 other children's organizations this year.