Dentist honored for helping Children’s Village

Kazanis provides pro bono dentistry, transforms own birthday party into $20K fundraiser

By: Chris Jackett | Royal Oak Review | Published May 21, 2012

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ROYAL OAK — The youths at the Children’s Village in Pontiac have had troubled lives, but the generosity of a local dentist is giving them something to smile about.

Dr. Demi Kazanis has spent the past three years providing pro bono dentistry work to a handful of children who are living at Children’s Village either because they have broken the law and were ordered there by the court, or they are victims of abuse and neglect. The two categories are housed and schooled separately at the village.

“It started with a plea on Facebook,” Kazanis said. “Someone I knew had posted on Facebook if anyone can help a young girl who was going to lose a front tooth that’s 13-14.”

Kazanis, who was featured on TLC’s “My Strange Addiction” television show helping a Redford woman who was addicted to eating Comet cleaning powder, said she has assisted six or seven children who needed dental work beyond what the state was willing to pay for, all for free.

The Royal Oak dentist was planning a March 3 birthday party for herself at a local hotel when she had an idea.

“I was planning a birthday party for myself at The Townsend in Birmingham and thought it was a little over the top, so I donated the party to the Children’s Village as a fundraiser,” Kazanis said. “I thought the kids were much more deserving of a benefit than I was for a big birthday party.”

The event brought in $20,000, which was donated to the Children’s Village Foundation. Kazanis said she was able to get several donors involved, including the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, which donated signed memorabilia to be auctioned off.

“This was kind of one person’s initiatives and efforts that brought in a whole lot of money at one time,” Children’s Village manager Joanna Overall said. “Her generosity is impressive. She made it very clear to me that she is willing to do (pro bono dentistry) again.”

Overall said the foundation funds a Fun Fest summer festival, GED preparation courses, a Raptor Respect birds of prey education event and more for the 220 Children’s Village residents.

“We have requests pretty continuously coming in for the foundation,” Overall said.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson honored Kazanis for her efforts May 2 at a Board of Commissioners meeting in Pontiac.

“It was a huge honor,” Kazanis said. “I was very surprised. It kind of came to be a big thing.

“I hope that this is just the tip of the iceberg and (I want to) continue to help with fundraising and dentistry.”

Kazanis will be kept busy as her dentistry office moves from the east side of Royal Oak at 1815 N. Campbell, at 12 Mile, to a new 4,000-square-foot office in the northwest corner at 4251 Coolidge, south of 14 Mile, on May 19.

For more on her business, visit www.kazanisdds.com.
 

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