A local realtor is helping the city’s youth smile by giving them access to much-needed funds for orthodontic work.
Csumrik & Associates donated $4,000 to the Vern Herron Dental Fund Tuesday afternoon, which was set up in 2021 to help young people at the Orillia Youth Centre access dental care.
Realtor Marci Csumrik set up the fund in memory of her late father, a passionate local dentist for whom the fund is named, following discussions with the youth centre about the need to fund orthodontic work for the city’s youth.
“I've been volunteering at the youth centre for several years, and it just came to me that it was really important that the youth are able to have access to money … if they needed any dental work, especially braces,” Csumrik told OrilliaMatters.
Csumrik said her father, who passed away in 1973, was always helping people access dental care.
“He was very generous with his time, with his work: if somebody couldn't afford it, he would certainly do it for free,” Csumrik said. “I remember many times stopping (while) we were on our route somewhere, and he'd stop at this rural property and go and pull out a tooth or something like that. I was taught at a young age that it's important to give back to people.”
With this year’s donation, which included efforts from Csumrik’s daughters, the fund now sits at $8,000. Csumrik said a portion of her firm’s sales will be donated to the fund moving forward.
Youth centre manager Kevin Gangloff said he hopes the fund will be able to help a number of youth every year moving forward, as orthodontic funding is difficult to access.
“When you look at a lot of assistance programs out there, orthodontics are one of the ones … that don't have a lot of access to care for,” he said. “It's really hard to find that kind of fund out there," said Gangloff.
“Marci has very generously agreed to keep seeding the fund over time.”
Gangloff said the idea for the fund began when a young lady named Lyric, a participant at the youth centre, needed funds for braces.
With Csumrik and the youth centre’s help, Lyric was able to get the braces she needed.
“I feel amazing and blessed that I got the chance, so I'm really glad that other people are going to get the chance, and I know people personally who can't afford this, so this is amazing," Lyric told OrilliaMatters.
Donations to the fund can be made directly through Csumrik & Associates and the Orillia Youth Centre.