The Superior Institute of Dental Education and Assistance (Superior IDEA), a non-profit dental assisting program offering high-quality dental assistant training for primarily economically disadvantaged members of Chicago's minority communities, has announced its inaugural graduating class of seven students. The graduates, Yolanda Cruz, Rosa DesRosiers, April Cook, John Lott, Paul Molina, Ana Guler and Michelle Lee, are from the Pilsen, Hyde Park and Buck Town communities.
To graduate, each student was required to complete a comprehensive, 12-week state approved curriculum, an internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and volunteer their newfound skills through giving back to the community. This group currently volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago and each graduate has already received a job offer from a local dental office.
"We are delighted with the dedication and focus this first class has shown towards dentistry," said Dr. Luciana Burca, executive director of Superior IDEA and practicing Chicago-area dentist. "These graduates exemplify what Superior IDEA's mission is�to provide educational and career opportunities for people in Chicago who may not otherwise have them."
Superior IDEA is currently accepting applications and recommendations from community organizations for student candidates to participate in its second program scheduled to begin September 19, 2003.
The Superior IDEA program runs in three-month cycles and can include up to 12 students, with a target enrollment of 48 by 2004. All classes are held on Saturdays, so students can maintain their weekday jobs. Superior IDEA offers its graduates job placement assistance, although permanent placement is not guaranteed.
Anyone can apply for Superior IDEA, however the target student population is primarily recruited from low socio-economic areas focusing initially on the Latino communities of Pilsen, Back of the Yards and Humbolt Park. Tuitions for students with a demonstrated economic need will be sponsored through available donations made to Superior IDEA. Applications from dental professionals wishing to further their chair-side training will also be accepted.
As a non-profit organization, Superior IDEA relies heavily on support from external organizations and private donors through tax-deductible donations. All donations received will fund general operations and the sponsorship of student tuition. Superior IDEA is partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, 1-800-DENTIST®, the Hispanic Dental Association, Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Community Health Partnership, and Sullivan Schein.
For more information or details on how to make a tax-deductible donation to Superior IDEA, call (312) 701-0100, e-mail: [email protected] or visit www.superiorIDEA.org.