Assistance League of Newport-Mesa began their efforts in supporting children’s oral health care when in 1941 the Newport Grammar School nurse, Mrs. Tubbs, expressed concern for a few students who were in need of proper dental care. Nine students were identified as potential patients; two local dentists agreed to cooperate, Assistance League members provided funding and transportation for the children and the Dental Project was born.
On September 18, 1952, Assistance League opened their first Dental Center located on the Balboa Peninsula. Made possible by a grant from the Irvine Foundation, this two-chair facility would see between 20 and 25 children per day that were referred by the surrounding schools.
Over the years, the Dental Center moved twice and finally came to rest, in 1992, where it is today located in Assistance League of Newport-Mesa’s building in Costa Mesa. The Dental Center was renamed after Cheri Harris in 2004 in memory of her commitment as a volunteer and as a generous donor.
Today, the Cheri Harris Dental Center is one of the major philanthropic programs of Assistance League of Newport-Mesa and provides much-needed dental care for low-income families in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and neighboring communities. Accepting patients between the ages of 4 and 30, the care includes general and preventive dentistry, crowns, root canals, sealants as well as emergency services. The cost for a new patient’s office visit is just $20 and includes a full set of x-rays and an office cleaning. Regular cleaning visits are just $10. Applications may be obtained from the school nurses for those enrolled in the NMUSD. All others may call or stop by the Dental Center office.
The Dental Center is fully funded by Assistance League of Newport-Mesa from sales at its thrift and consignment shops, contributions, community grants, and annual fundraising events. If you would like to donate, volunteer, or receive more information about Assistance League of Newport-Mesa, visit our donation page, our volunteer opportunities page, or call (949) 645-6929.