Sometimes life throws you some curve balls and sometimes life just throws you completely off of the cart.
The Free Clinic of Southwest Washington and its endless crew of selfless volunteers has been a very bright spot in some very challenging times. I did not think people like this existed any longer. When you're dealing with difficult circumstances as it is and then cannot afford health or dental care, there are very few resources available that can or will help.
My first encounter with the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington was in December of 2012. I was not able to afford my prescriptions refills and they were able to fill a one month supply for me. Shortly after that I was called and scheduled for their dental clinic. This service took a little longer to get in to see someone but once I was evaluated and set up with a treatment plan, I was invited to dental appointments.
I participated in the Adult Dental Day at the Clark County Skills Center in April 2013. I had four bottom front teeth taken care of. This was no small feat as the teeth had significant cavities and they were getting close to needing root canals. The dentist and the team spent a couple of hours on me and saved four teeth from needing unaffordable and UN-obtainable root canals and crowns. I will add that these were FRONT bottom teeth on a woman who makes presentations and deals with people for my livelihood.
On August 29, 2013 I was scheduled again through the Oral Health Initiative to have TWO broken and root canal-ed crowns removed. Kaiser Dental was the community partner that covered this procedure.
I got a call last week that another local dentist and partner with the Oral Health Initiative will be calling me soon to schedule some fillings on FRONT TOP teeth this time.
Despite challenging economic circumstances and some personal resource challenges, the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington and ALL of their volunteers have always made me feel respected and cared for but the most touching and intangible gift they give is the gift of restoring a persons dignity.
I may be in a temporarily challenging situation right now, but when I am back on my feet (and that will preferable be soon and in the greatest pair of stilettos your have ever seen) this organization is on the top of my priority list to give back to as well as their community partners.
I may not have cash right now, but I will tell you that this group of tireless, selfless, truly generous volunteers have made a HUGE deposit for good in The Bank of Karma!
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
...include some other under resourced services that would enhance the services they already provide.. For example Mental Health. Community Center Northwest offers 6 months of free mental health counseling for members of the community who cannot afford or cannot obtain services elsewhere. Also, perhaps partner with local food resources.
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