Dental Volunteers for Israel (DVI), the country's only free dental clinic for disadvantaged and at-risk children, received a medal of recognition last week from Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, who praised it for improving the lives of Jerusalem's children. Located at 29 Rehov Mekor Haim, the clinic was founded in 1980 by the late Trudi Berger, after whom the clinic is named. The mayor met the clinic's management and a Minnesota dentist, Dr. John Bengtson, who for the last quarter century has come to Jerusalem 19 times to donate his time - totaling a year here - to treat needy Jerusalem children. The Trudi Berger DVI clinic (www.dental-dvi.org.il,/b>) has treated over 20,000 children since its founding, with over 4,500 volunteer dentists from Israel and all over the world performing between 1,000 to 1,200 treatments monthly. The patients, aged five to 18, are referred to DVI by the city's social welfare service. Berger, a Holocaust survivor, was determined to establish such a facility after seeing many poor children suffering from toothaches and diseased teeth. Before treatment, children and parents must participate in the preventative health care program provided on-site by dental hygienists, learn about oral health and how to take care of their teeth properly. DVI is dependent on donations, as it receives less than five percent of its funding from government grants.

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