Youths get dental checkups, ID cards

first_imgAmid a flurry of women and children crowded inside and outside the Bienvenidos Children’s Center Inc. in East Los Angeles, the Whittier Masons and a Whittier dental office staff were hard at work. “These kids don’t have anything,” said Chris Rodriguez, a Whittier resident and a center volunteer who organized a day of arts, crafts, games and a free McDonald’s lunch for the center’s clients while they waited to have their teeth examined and their fingerprints and pictures taken. Rodriguez has been bringing food and other items to the center – and to the Angel Step Inn in Pico Rivera – for about seven years. “A lot of times, the staff are all backed up with paperwork, so I figured I might as well do it myself,” he said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesSo when Rodriguez spotted Jerry Laiblin and Chris Klump of the Greenleaf Gardens Masonic Lodge doing child identification at the Uptown Whittier YMCA some weeks ago, the Bienvenidos center was the first thing that came to his mind. “These children are more susceptible to being abducted,” Rodriguez said. “With the new Amber law, you may hear that a 3-year-old Hispanic girl has been abducted, but that doesn’t really help,” he said. “I just thought that at least this way the mothers have this \ on hand.” “If a child goes missing, there’s some record so that they can be found,” said Klump, a self-employed certified public accountant, who volunteers with Laiblin, a retired YMCA employee, and other Masons. “It’s a free service we do for the community,” Klump said. Next door, Dr. Merle Yaneza and her dental staff tended to a waiting area full to capacity. “We’re really busy, which is really good,” said Yaneza’s business manager, Maggie Lizarraga, as she sorted through charts. “We’re giving them a screening and preventative-care instructions.” As Yaneza and her assistant, Lucy Flores, bent over a toddler, Yaneza said she was “really happy to take care of them.” Rodriguez approached Yaneza about volunteering her services at the center because “she’s a very nice doctor with a good heart.” “Obviously, she’s in it to help the community,” he added. Bienvenidos’ director Barbara Kappos thinks the same of Rodriguez. “I think if we had more people like him, it would be a different world,” Kappos said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955 Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more