Kids’ healthy smiles a longtime priority for Gables Woman’s Club
The Coral Gables Woman’s Club has been putting smiles on children for nearly 75 years, raising funds year in and out so the dental clinic it founded in 1939 can continue to provide free dental care for 5- to 18-year-olds in need in Miami-Dade County.
Located in the historic clubhouse at 1001 East Ponce De Leon Boulevard, the clinic – named the May Van Sickle Dental Clinic in 1990 in honor of a beloved 30-year employee – has helped more than 35,000 children and provided more than $4 million in dental care.
To keep that record going, the club puts on an entertaining fundraiser every year, “High Rollers to Hollywood Casino Night.” This year’s is set for 7 p.m. (tables open at 8) Saturday, March 9, at the clubhouse and includes prize drawings. Tickets, $50, can be reserved by contacting clinic director Iris Torres-Rivera at 305-446-1047, [email protected], or Carmen Suarez at [email protected].
It’s a night with far-reaching impact for the community, said Mireya Kilmon, club president, noting that last year’s black-tie casino night netted $24,136. The club raises awareness of its dental service by visiting schools and guidance counselors and contacting families, she said.
“Our main referrals come from schools around Miami-Dade County,” Ms. Kilmon said. “With promotional help from member Dr. Iris Torres-Rivera, we always have long waiting lists and a high demand for dental care services.”
In a first visit to the clinic, a child has cleaning, X-rays and evaluation for long-term treatment. Dentists stress oral hygiene and habits to keep teeth and gums healthy, and they provide services from fillings to root canals and crowns.
The clinic is one important aspect of the Coral Gables Woman’s Club. Each month, members discuss upcoming activities and club goals over a potluck meal. Those goals include projects to enhance education, conservation and the arts in the community.
Ms. Kilmon, a member for 19 years, became president in May 2012 and presides over volunteer and communication efforts. She said that since she began, club membership has grown by 15 to 62 members. Among her plans is to become more involved in government-sanctioned community projects and to motivate members to take part in the 2013 international convention of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs when it meets in Hollywood, Fla., bringing together more than 4,000 women from around the globe.
In her installation speech last May, Ms. Kilmon compared the club women to horses in this way: “A horse herd is inclusive – everyone belongs, everyone is essential, everyone matters.”
Click here for silent auction and other information about High Rollers to Hollywood Casino Night on March 9.
Abbe Kramer is a sophomore in the University of Miami School of Communication majoring in public relations.