CEA Advisor: May-June 2018

16 CEA ADVISOR MAY - JUNE 2018 HELPING CEA has launched the “Because” campaign to spread awareness of how the union works to support Connecticut teachers. Many veteran teachers recall that early in their careers, they didn’t understand the importance of union membership. Often it took someone pulling them into a union meeting or asking them to help fill a role within their local Association before they became aware of the contracts negotiated on their behalf, the public policy work taking place at the State Capitol, the benefits and buying power available to them, and the collective voice they had as members of CEA. Connecticut is fortunate to have a strong union—but engaging members is more important than ever. CEA’s Because campaign includes a powerful “Membership Matters” video and handouts, including: • Because You Deserve a Competitive Salary and Benefits • Because Your Pension Matters • Because There’s Power in Numbers • Because You Are Passionate About Teaching • Because PD Should Be Relevant to You • Because the Noblest Profession Deserves the Best Legal Protection To view the video or materials, or for more information, talk to your building rep or UniServ Rep. CEA, TEACHERS SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT FREE DENTAL CLINIC Hundreds, including schoolchildren, receive much-needed care CEA partnered with the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach this year to get the message out about a no-cost clinic at Torrington High School April 20-21. Now in its 12th year, the Connecticut Mission of Mercy (CTMOM) clinic provides free dental care to those who are underserved or uninsured. Julie Eagan, who came with her 15-year-old son, Jonathan, learned about the clinic through flyers posted at Torrington Middle School. CEA distributed hundreds of flyers to teachers and school administrators in the hopes that families in need of services would know that there are no-cost options available. The CTMOM free dental clinic offers people of all ages a wide range of oral healthcare, including cleanings, fillings, extractions, X-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants, root canals, dentures, and general screenings. “The cost of dental care leaves many unable to afford it,” said Torrington Education Association President Mary Svetz-Juliano. “The dental clinic provides an invaluable charitable service to the residents of Connecticut, especially those in the northwest corner. To be able to come to Torrington High School and receive a dental cleaning free of charge is wonderful, and I am glad that so many adults and children took advantage of the opportunity.” Miles of smiles In a line that wrapped around the building, hundreds lined up outside the school in the cold, dark hours of the morning, and by the time the doors opened at 8 a.m., the clinic had reached its full capacity for the day. Organizers treated around 800 people, and a special area was set up just for pediatric care. “We have a diverse community in Torrington, and many of our families have economic needs,” Torrington High School English teacher Erin Sullivan explained. “A clinic such as this provides quality care regardless of need, allowing families with limited or no dental insurance the associated with dental care. Dr. Norma Gomez, of Branford, added that parents may not know their children have a dental issue. “By coming here, they have the benefit of an exam, a restorative filling if needed, and free treatment from experienced dentists.” Teachers lend a hand Josephine Bicknell, director of programs and CTMOM clinic director, says teachers are among the thousands of volunteers who help make the annual clinic run smoothly. (Clinics are set up in different Connecticut locations each year.) “One of our volunteers is a teacher, recently retired, who has been with us since 2009,” Bicknell says. “She started because she was so concerned about her students and wanted to get them good oral healthcare that their families couldn’t afford. She was so grateful that we came to her community, and from that point on, she said she needed to be a part of the effort. This year, in Torrington, she helped set up the clinic.” Other volunteers served as foreign-language translators, sign language interpreters, parking attendants, or patient escorts, and many helped with patient registration, data entry, crowd control, food service, or tear-down. Holding English- and Spanish- language flyers distributed by CEA, Ana Francisca Flores and her seven- year-old son, Rosbin Osvaldo Flores, made the trip from Bridgeport so that Rosbin could get fillings—an expense many families cannot afford. Orthodontic specialist and oral surgeon Norma Gomez, with assistant Angela Ortiz, waits for the first patients of the day. Lavya Tyagi, 9, with his parents—Vikas and Preeti—and his 14-year-old brother, Bhavya, traveled from Danbury for family dental care. Mylar and aluminum sheets distributed by volunteers help keep patients warm and dry during the long wait outside. Organizer Josephine Bicknell gets ready for the clinic doors to open. opportunity to stay in better health. Torrington teachers distributed flyers announcing the clinic.” Personal identification, documentation, and insurance were not required, and the clinic was open to anyone. Families came from as far as Bridgeport, Danbury, and New London County. The mother of a nine-year-old girl from Old Lyme explained that the cost of a filling for her daughter, $500, was out of the family’s reach. Dr. Bahar Houshmand and Dr. Archana Karanki, pediatric dentists volunteering their services, said that getting the word out to students, through their teachers, was important because many children have untreated cavities—decaying teeth that can easily be restored before they result in abscesses, trips to the emergency room, painful extractions, and bad memories It’s the U and I in Union That Makes Us Strong