Couples enjoy working side by side at CDA Cares

Among the more than 14,000 volunteers who have generously donated their time and skills to CDA Cares are couples who enjoy working side by side at the events hosted by the CDA Foundation.

Nancy and Craig Yarborough, DDS, are regulars at CDA Cares. Nancy said one of the things they like about the clinics, other than providing care to the underserved, is the friendships they have formed.

"We now have a community of friends we have made at these events," Nancy said. "You get a chance to get to know people when you work side by side with them. It really brings you together. It's a common bond that we all share."

CDA Cares is a volunteer dental program hosted by the CDA Foundation that provides dental services at no charge to Californians who experience barriers to care, while educating the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for an adequately funded dental safety net, which includes a well-functioning Denti-Cal program.

When they were students at Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, Lee Adishian, RDH, and Scott Adishian, DDS, volunteered at a mobile dental clinic. After finishing assisting those in need, they attended a dinner sponsored by Scott's parents. Lee didn't realize at the time she was meeting her future in-laws. 

The two have been married 35 years and volunteer work is still a passion they share. 

Lee worked as a hygienist in Scott's Pasadena dental practice for many years. She later took on the role of executive director of the San Gabriel Valley Dental Society, where she has served for the last eight years.

The Adishians are charitable at heart. Two years ago, they established an endowed scholarship at USC for dental students who they feel embody two attributes near and dear to their hearts: leadership and giving back to one's profession. 

In December 2013, the Adishians volunteered at CDA Cares San Diego. Scott worked in the denture area of the clinic. 

"It was an eye-opening experience to see the patient's smiles change so dramatically in such a short period of time," Scott said.

Scott, who has served as USC's alumni president since 2002, had been to a couple of volunteer dental clinics over the years, but CDA Cares was different. 

"It is the best-run and best-organized, large-scale dental clinic I have witnessed," Scott said.

The San Diego event provided an instant flashback for Lee, who has volunteered in the sterilization, lab and registration areas at CDA Cares.

"It brought back the good times from when we were in school. Being able to volunteer together, share our skills and talent with those less fortunate is fulfilling and memorable," Lee said.

The Adishians have never looked back, volunteering at each CDA Cares since the San Diego event. They have generously donated money to the program as well.  Scott even served as the chair of CDA Cares Pomona, and both of the Adishians served on the steering committee for that event. They both plan to continue their efforts with CDA Cares, and hope others will join them.

Kathi and Russ Webb, DDS, are also regulars. And like the Adishians, they met in college at the UCLA School of Dentistry. They have now been married for more than 30 years. Russ and Kathi have shown a high level of commitment to the CDA Foundation in the form of donations and volunteering. They have volunteered at all but one CDA Cares, and that one time they didn't attend was because they had a commitment to volunteer at a different event.

Russ works in the oral surgery area while Kathi, who serves as a volunteer event manager, works in central supply and routing.

"It's something that is very important to both of us," Kathi said. "It's fun to work together in this environment. We have met a lot of friends at CDA Cares. It's an important part of our life and is something we can do by side by side that allows us to give back."

And certainly, by now they have their CDA Cares routine down pat.

"We try to take breaks together. I will walk over and tell him to take a break and we will share stories," Kathi said. "At the end of the day, we sit down and discuss what went on that day."

Kathi said another good aspect about volunteering at CDA Cares is that there are jobs for everyone and volunteers don't have to be a dentist or hygienist to give back.

"The beauty of CDA Cares is you don't have to be in the profession," Kathi said. "As a couple it is fun to do something together even if you don't have the dental background. It is one of the things that is unique about the program, and there are a lot of couples who work at these events."

For more information, visit cdafoundation.org/stockton.

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