As America was celebrating its bicentennial, the Kiwanis Club of Pueblo, Colorado, was establishing a program to assist needy children with their orthodontia treatment. At its weekly meeting Sept. 16, the Kiwanis Club of Pueblo presented Dr. Nile Scott, D.D.S., with an honorary membership in the club for his three decades of service to area youth.
Kiwanis Club of Pueblo Foundation President Cora Zaletel said since 1976, the club has provided in excess of $300,000 in payments to local orthodontists to provide treatment for more than 250 Pueblo County youth with severe dental issues and financial need. In 1976, Pueblo Kiwanis Club President Edmund Vallego, with assistance by Dr. James “Suds” Sudduth, D.D.S., and other Kiwanis members, initiated the current orthodontic program for youth. The club raised more than $6,000 to establish an endowment for the orthodontia program through a fundraising drive. As of 2008, more than $300,000 has been contributed by the club to 250+ low-income children with serious dental conditions.
Dr. Scott has treated approximately 80 percent of the Kiwanis orthodontia patients during the last 30 years, discounting treatment at a value of about $100,000. Other orthodontists who have participated in the program through the years include Dr. Michael Colb, Dr. Jeffrey Geller, Drs. Calvin and Craig Hunter and Howard Stringert.
A Pueblo Central High School graduate, Dr. Scott earned an associate’s degree in biology in 1966 from University of Southern Colorado and a doctoral degree in dental surgery at Creighton University School of Dentistry, where he was class valedictorian. He went on to complete his orthodontic specialty certificate from the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago.
The parents of children under the age of 18 with serious dental impairments and high financial need who reside in Pueblo County may apply for Kiwanis orthodontia grants to help fund their children’s treatment. Referrals come to the Pueblo Kiwanis Club from Pueblo County orthodontists, who look for young patients with a demonstrated need for extensive orthodontia care and financial limitations. The orthodontia need is ranked on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being minimal treatment required and 10 being care ranked at the highest level.
The Kiwanis Club of Pueblo Orthodontia Program generally only funds the most severe cases rated at 9 or 10. Participating orthodontists discount their services and then follow a plan paid 75 percent by the Pueblo Kiwanis Club Foundation and 25 percent by the child’s family. Once contacted, Kiwanis members provide the family with an application to assist the committee with their process for determining if the candidate and the family is a good match for the program and to confirm the financial need. Kiwanis members then will arrange for a time to make a home visit to assess the family’s commitment to the program.