JUNE 22, 1955
NEW YORK—On Monday noon I did a delightful kind of recording at BBC here in New York during which I was able to talk for a few minutes with Madame Pandit in London and Sir Zafrulla Khan in The Hague which was a real pleasure.
The recording was in preparation for the London Forum, which I think actually goes on the air next Sunday. Sir Charles Webster is the English member taking part and the moderator is Mr. Clark.
I enjoyed it very much and I hope our exchange of views will be as interesting to the public as it was to me personally.
In the early evening I went down to the Free Dental Clinic which has just finished its first year of operation at 236 East Broadway, this city. I heard about this clinic when last winter I visited the little church that is almost opposite the Henry Street Settlement. I had been curious ever since to find out how this pilot project in giving dental service to needy children was working out.
When this service was started I had been told that it could not possibly last more than three months. The founding volunteers have stuck, however, and the first year has meant the completion of work done for 384 children. There is one volunteer dentist who even does the job of teeth straightening, and he has agreed that while the clinic is closed during the summer months he will see these children at his own private office.
There is also a women's committee that helps. The building housing the clinic was purchased and the committee operating it is the Sidney Friedman Association. Renovation of the place was done by the men members of the committee who happen to have a contractor as an associate member and a professional job was accomplished. They did the plumbing, carpentry, painting, etc. The dentists volunteer so many hours each week, and a child does not change dentists but comes to the same one each time.
There is no bar because of race, creed or color. The only requisite is that the child's family cannot afford to pay for the dental work needed. The children are referred by public and parochial schools and even by two nursery schools.
The top floor of the house is a children's playroom and I was told that because of this innovation the children soon cease to be afraid of the ordeal of going to the dentist's. This group has operated on an unbelievably small budget, but has been fortunate in getting some financial support from outside the city as well as from people in the city who have known of this pilot project.
It is the kind of undertaking that I think might be valuable for study by the United Nations, since self-help is really the root of the whole idea. Many a young doctor after an inspection tour of the Free Dental Clinic, might very well return to his own country with some of the ideas developed in this project.