Inmates’ Good Deeds Benefit Topeka Women and Children

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Inmates’ Good Deeds Benefit Topeka Women and Children

by Todd Fertig — last modified Jan 03, 2014 11:10 AM
Bag it, bow it, tag it. Bag it, bow it, tag it. That’s what students in the Kansas Correctional Industries’ Dental Lab at the Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF) do roughly 2,000 times each year during the spare minutes that intersperse their regular work of making dentures for patients of the KAMU safety net clinics scattered across Kansas.

The students are bagging, bowing and tagging dental gift bags.  The tags convey best wishes for happy holidays from both the TCF Dental Lab and the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation, and each bag contains a toothbrush, tooth paste and floss generously provided by the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation.  The gift bags are given at no charge to the Topeka Moving Ahead Program and the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment for distribution, as well as to all the inmates of TCF.  While most of us don’t think of a toothbrush and toothpaste as a gift, many recipients do. For a few of them, it will be the only gift they receive during the holidays.

“We so appreciate the support of the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation and the Topeka Correctional Facility for this project.  The donated dental supplies mean one less thing survivors of abuse have to worry about as they work to increase their safety,” said Laura Burton of the YWCA.

Lea Vincent, of the Topeka Moving Ahead Program, said, “Our participants usually come to us with low self-esteem. We do everything we can to build it back up, and these oral hygiene kits help increase their confidence level.  We really appreciate the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation and the Topeka Correctional Facility’s Dental Lab providing this incredible resource for them!”

“These women are having a personal impact on many lives one smile at a time,” said Gloria Geither, mentoring director for the Kansas Department of Corrections. “Thanks to the generosity of the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation, these female offenders are improving the oral health of Kansans, while learning important skills to help them succeed when they are released.”

According to Hope Cooper, TCF warden, “The TCF Dental Lab Holiday Gift Bag program is such a great example of the goodness that emanates from the lab.  The ability for the students to give a gift to the population at TCF makes the students feel good, and it is impactful to the population here.  Not only do the inmates get a gift of health, but, sometimes, that is the only gift they get. Our thanks go to the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation for making this program possible.”

“We are pleased to provide the items for the gift bags and are appreciative of the time the dental lab students spend each year putting the bags together,” said Karen Finstad, executive director of the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation. “Through this program recipients are able to maintain and improve their oral health, which is so important to their overall well-being.”

The Dental Technician Program at the Topeka Correctional Facility is designed to provide female inmates with education and hands-on experience in the art and science of denture-making, in order to better support themselves and their families upon release.  The dentures they create benefit the medically-underserved of Kansas.

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