SOLANA BEACH — The people at St. James and St. Leo dental clinic will soon have a lot more to smile about thanks to a renovation project that should be complete within the next few weeks.
Dr. Bob Bobbit, a volunteer dentist at the facility from early on, former Mayor Joe Kellejian, his longtime dentist, Dr. Dan Tevrizian, and a slew of other volunteers have been working to paint, replace the flooring, reupholster the chairs and improve the landscaping at the Solana Beach facility.
Kellejian said he learned the clinic needed improvements during a conversation with Tevrizian and his wife, Jan, who works as a volunteer hygienist at the office.
“He said he’d do the planning and I said I’d be happy to help with the fundraising effort,” Kellejian said.
His wife, Mary, is an interior designer who was able to secure 10 gallons of donated paint from Sherwin-Williams.
The Del Sol Lions Club, Optimist Club Del Mar-Solana Beach, Rotary Club and Triple X Fraternity, as well as individual contributors, donated more than the $2,200 needed for the new flooring.
The SeaWeeders Garden Club, an offshoot of the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society, donated the time and materials needed for the landscaping.
While Mary Kellejian is seeking estimates to reupholster the dental chairs, her husband continues to raise funds for that portion of the project, which will be partially paid for with money left over from the flooring budget.
“I’ve been talking to five local banks and some other dentists,” he said. “We’re even getting some doctors (from the adjacent medical clinic) who want to help out.
“This is a win-win-win situation,” Kellejian added. “The place will really be bright and cheery when it’s done. It’s a wonderful thing for those who are working in the community who don’t have the funds to go to a conventional dentist office.”
Staffed completely by volunteers from the medical community, the St. James and St. Leo Medical and Dental Program, founded by the late Dr. Dick Wheelock, offers medical and dental care for the uninsured working poor every Saturday morning and Wednesday night.
The dental clinic, which started in 1993, provides services for children and participates in the Welcome Home ministry for female prisoners who have been deemed “determined to change their lives.”
“Many of them have terrible teeth, and it’s hard to get a job because the first thing people notice is their smile, or lack thereof,” said Kathy Templin, a nurse practitioner who has been volunteering at the medical clinic since it opened in 1991.
Kellejian said once the dental clinic project is complete he may see what work is needed next door in the medical buildings.