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Dentist offers services to help people looking for jobs

December 24, 2010 8:01:58 PM PST
For six years, a South Bay dentist has been transforming the smiles of people without dental insurance. The program is designed to help people without work have a better shot at landing a job.

Julie Woodruff is in desperate need of dental work and is lucky enough to have earned a referral to Dr. Aldon Hilton in San Jose.

"I jokingly created the Gift of Dentistry, which spells 'GOD,' and they bought it and so now we are taking care of people," Hilton said.

The clients all come from Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose. The nonprofit is one of the largest food pantries in Northern California, but it offers much more. The Gift of Dentistry is part of the organization's JobLink program. The resource center empowers people to improve their job skills and find employment.

Woodruff worked for 12 years as a pension plan administrator but lost her job when the company was sold. JobLink is helping her hone her interview skills and this appointment with Hilton could be a big boost.

Woodruff has a upper partial with a broken front tooth she fixed herself.

"I'm just nervous about interviewing; I feel that would help me get a more positive attitude while I'm out talking to people," she said.

For years Hilton donated money to Sacred Heart, but in 2004 he started donating something much more valuable, his time and talents.

Hilton and his wife Calle Brophy limit the number of JobLink clients to three at any given time, but over the years think they have provided free dental services to at least 200 deserving people.

"A lot of times they continue to come see us once they get a job, they keep in touch with us and they let us know what their successes are," Brophy said.

Sacred Heart is especially grateful for Hilton's generosity and after all these years, the only disappointment is that he is going it alone.

"I would just love to think that there would be more Dr. Hilton's out there that realize just what a big deal this is and how they are really improving a life," JobLink supervisor Jill Spencer said.

If you ask Hilton and his wife, the reward is in giving. The smiles come even before the work begins. Hilton says the best part of this recognition is the opportunity to inspire others.

"These people need it, Sacred Heart needs it, our community needs it, especially at this time," Hilton said.


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