A pediatric dentist in Windsor doesn’t think twice about giving back to those who are not as fortunate as most of her regular customers.
That’s why Dr. Jill Shonka, owner of Windsor Pediatic Dentistry, 1299 Main St., Unit C, has provided free dental care the past two years for a group of orphans brought to Windsor from other countries by a Windsor organization called His Little Feet.
Seven children from Mizoram, India — ranging in ages from 9 to 13 — and a translator/chaperone — 25-year-old Zeli — received free dental care from Shonka and her staff the morning of Dec. 20 in the Windsor office.
“You want to find something where you can kind of give back, that makes a difference and is a service that they don’t have access to,” said Shonka, who has been in business in Windsor for the past two-and-a-half years.
His Little Feet was started by Mike and Christa Hahn in 2009 and is based in Windsor at Ellerslie, a Christian bible college. The goals of His Little Feet are to raise support to assist orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide. Orphans from other countries such as India, Haiti, Hondurus and Ethopia have come to Windsor for a year to receive an education, medical care and the opportunity to develop a lifelong relationship with God. The orphans are also part of the His Little Feet Children’s Choir Tour that travels around the country with the hope someday of being adopted by an American family. Funding for the program is through donations at the churches where the choir sings around the country, as well as sponsors from all over.
“We have partnerships with many orphanages around the world,” Mike Hahn said. “There’s an estimated 163 million orphans in the world. These kids sing at churches at 30 different states this year, and they’re kind of the voice for millions of children around the world who don’t have a voice. There are a lot of people that are really excited about adopting. The choir kids are not adoptable when they’re in the choir. When they return home, they’ll work with the local authorities. Our goal is to see them in a great family, whether that’s in their country or in another country.”
To learn more about the nonprofit organization, go to its website at hislittlefeet.org or call 1-866-252-3988.
“This is like my ideal situation to give back to the community,” said Shonka, the only pediatric dentist in Windsor. “It’s a local charity-type service. You know that they need it. A lot of these kids have never been to the dentist. If they have, it’s sporadic care for sure. They’re all super brave, fear-friendly and grateful. It’s like going on a mission-service trip, but you can do it in your own home, which is awesome. As long as they keep doing it, I’ll definitely be here for them. I think it’s a great way to be able to give back to the kids who need it. It not like they have any type of insurance. I know in some years it’s close to $10,000 worth of services.”
Shonka said her services range from filling cavities, cleanings, full-sets of X-rays, sealants and other dental work.
She said this is something she always wanted to do when she was in dental school.
“In dental school, I did a service trip to Cambodia,” she said. “I’d love to do some more traveling and do service like that. It’s nice to be able to give back whenever you can. I’ve always had the feeling that if everyone did something, there would be a lot less problems and the world would be that much better of a place. I think it’s important that anything you can do and anyway you can help, do it. It’s something I absolutely enjoy. It’s a minimal compromise for me to be able to help other people.”
Aaron Kinabrew, a staff member for His Little Feet, said the dental care provided by Shonka is special.
“It’s a tremendous blessing for us as a ministry and to each of these kids personally. A lot of these kids haven’t had solid health care,” Kinabrew said. “Immunizations and dental care are huge for them.”
Zuala, 13, said it was the first time he had ever been to the dentist.
“It was good,” said Zuala, who got his teeth cleaned.
Zuala admitted that he was scared going into the chair because he had heard about receiving possible injections to numb the area in his mouth, but he said he didn’t have to get any.
Chhuani, 12, said it was her third time at the dentist. With a mouth full of white teeth, Chhuani said she wasn’t scared to go to the dentist.
Zeli, the chaperone for the children who come from four children’s homes in India, couldn’t say enough kind things about Shonka, who met the Hahns at a His Little Feet 5K run fundraiser at Windsor Lake.
“Dr. Jill is like our everything,” Zeli said. “Everyone here is just wonderful and helpful. It’s kind of hard to go to the dentist at home because the (kids) are in children’s homes and there are a lot of children to take care of. It’s kind of hard to go regularly.”
Hahn said Shonka has made a huge impact on his ministry by providing free dental care.
“Most kids around the world outside of the United States don’t have access to good medical care or dental care, and certainly not great dental care. These kids are from a really remote area of India,” Hahn said. “Jill is great. She’s just full of energy and smiles. I was so impressed by the dentist’s office, and just how clean it is. Her staff is really impressive. The fact that they’re taking care of cavities and they’re doing cleanings is just a huge help to our ministry. Because we’re funded just by individual donors, that’s a huge gift to our ministry and to these kids.”