Donation follows on organization’s mission to aid special needs children
KOKOMO, Ind. — Members of the Ibn Saud Grotto, a fraternal organization in Kokomo, have pledged $10,000 to establish the Ibn Saud Grotto Scholarship for students in the dental assisting program at Ivy Tech Community College.
The new scholarship program is part of the Ibn Saud Grotto’s ongoing commitment to provide much-needed dental care to children with special needs, the focus of the Humanitarian Foundation of the Grottoes of North America, an umbrella group for the organization that is an offshoot of the Masonic Order.
“As part of the Grottoes of North America, the membership of Ibn Saud Grotto has embraced the Humanitarian Foundation’s belief that children with special needs should live as fully and as independently as possible,” said Don Warnock, monarch of the Kokomo organization. “We are committed to helping to alleviate the suffering and to improve the quality of life by providing dental care for those who otherwise may go without – ‘one smile at a time.’”
After touring Ivy Tech’s dental assisting instructional facilities in Kokomo and hearing from program chair Kristy Parker and two of her students, the local grotto leadership decided that support of local students preparing for careers in dental care was a great way to advance their mission.
“Ivy Tech’s dental assisting program has a great track record of success,” Warnock said. “We hope our support of students will lead to graduates who will share their skills by helping those in need in their communities.”
Ibn Saud Grotto has pledged to complete funding to allow $500 scholarships to be awarded starting with the fall semester of 2018. To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must be a resident of Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Tipton or Wabash counties, and must have completed at least 15 hours in the Dental Assisting program at an Ivy Tech site within the Kokomo Region with a minimum 3.0 grade point average.
Ivy Tech has offered the dental assisting program at its Kokomo campus for 12 years. Designed to respond to needs of local dentists, the program consists of two semesters and one summer session and includes lecture and laboratory instruction as well as supervised experience with dental professional and patients in the clinic setting. The program has limited enrollment of 24 qualified students per year, as required by its accreditation by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Its students annually participate in The “Happy Teeth” Sealant Clinic, a collaborative effort involving a local community church and its members, area dentists, the Ivy Tech Dental Assisting program students and faculty and the Kokomo School Corp. to provide the important dental service to under-served children.
“We are proud of the service our students provide as they complete requirements for their technical certificates and associate degrees in dental assisting,” program chair Parker said. “Our graduates are well-prepared and successful in their careers. In 2014 and 2015, all of our graduates were hired full-time in area dental offices immediately following completion of the program.”
Demand for certified dental assistants continues to increase, Parker said, especially as many current local dental assistants prepare to retire within the next few years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for certified dental assistants in Indiana range from $28,844 to $45,770 per year.
Five openings remain in the class that will begin in August. For more information on Ivy Tech’s Dental Assisting program, including the prerequisites for registration, contact Kristy Parker at (765) 457-0858, ext. 6104, or by email at email@example.com .