Contact: Cherie Ronayne
Office of Institutional Communications
cronayne [at] qcc.mass.edu
Worcester, MA – January 8, 2014 – Quinsigamond Community College is pleased to announce that the KIDSEAL Program, initiated by Professor Joyce Cooney in 1999 has reached its 14th anniversary. The community-based service is the first of its kind in MA and is a service-learning component for dental students. The program provides prophylactic services and education to a record number of children from Worcester Public Schools.
The Kidseal Program, initially grant funded and now in its 14th year, is a community service project that provides free dental care to underprivileged, elementary school-aged children from Worcester. QCC Dental program students and community volunteers provide the free services. QCC and the Central MA Oral Health Initiative provide services for all 42 Worcester Elementary Schools. For many children, their experience at the QCC Dental Clinic is the first time they’ve ever received dental services.
Lakeview (Coburn Avenue, Worcester) Elementary School’s first and second graders visited the QCC Clinic on January 7 and their fifth and sixth grade students visited today, January 8. All children receive a medical/dental evaluation, cleaning, fluoride, sealants, general health and dental health education and x-rays if necessary. Emergency and restorative dental work are both new additions to the services offered. Professor Cooney relates, “Some children arrive at our clinic with undiagnosed oral infections. This can lead to very serious, life threatening situations if left untreated. For these children, Kidseal can literally be life-saving.”
Children leave the clinic with a new toothbrush, floss, stickers, a timer for tooth brushing and a better understanding of the importance of oral health. Kidseal community volunteers earn 4 CEUs from QCC as well as a warm fuzzy feeling from giving back to the community. QCC’s dental students participate as part of their learning objectives. Additional volunteers are always welcomed.
An unconventional but important additional benefit to the Kidseal program is that Professor Cooney also recruits children as future QCC students, stressing the importance of earning a higher education. As Professor Cooney recently told Lakeview school students, “This is your Community College. Study hard and you can come back here and earn a degree when you’re older!”
Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.