Kansas City group provides free mobile dental care, eye exams at 10 school districts

By Alan Shope

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    NORTH KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KMBC) — There’s a nonprofit charity in Northland giving free dental and eye exams to children who need them, traveling from school to school to provide help.

“At elementary schools, you do more crowns and extractions,” said Christy May, of LevelUp Kids.

On this day, it is all about fillings.

The group’s goal is to get kids to the level of all their peers. LevelUp Kids said that begins with a great smile and great vision.

“Sometimes dental and vision care fall off the priority list when your family is struggling financially,” May said.

The organization has been around in Kansas City since 2002. It sets up mini-dental clinics inside schools that include cleanings, X-rays, extractions, and fillings.

When it comes to eye exams, LevelUp Kids brings in a van.

“The doctor pulls up next to the school and the kids can come out and hop on the van and get a full eye exam,” May said. “A lot of times a pair of glasses or a couple of fillings can really change the trajectory of a child.”

LevelUp Kids serves about 4,000 kids a year in 10 different school districts. Crews move into a school for two or three weeks at a time, helping as many kids as they can before moving on to the next school.

“We’re certainly trying to see the children who need it the most,” May said.

She said that in Northland between one in six families have financial challenges and that number is going up.

About 1,000 children visit the free vision van each year.

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