Local Teen Makes a Difference by Helping Eastman Dental

Despite his death 79 years ago, George Eastman’s spirit of philanthropy and community service remains strong, and is today shining through the efforts of a local 11th grader.

As Julia Baker researched options for her Girl Scout Gold Award, the group’s highest award designed to promote leadership and service, she learned about Eastman’s impact on the city and world.  Tapping into her interest in film and motion pictures, Baker decided her project, ‘Rochester through History’s Lens’, would focus on Eastman’s role in film and one of his favorite charities, dentistry for children.

“I didn’t even know Eastman Dental existed until I started my research,” Baker admitted. “I learned about its history and all that it provided in the past and what it provides now. It is an incredible place for people who need dental care of all types.”

Earning a Gold Award doesn’t come easy. It’s a true leader-in-training three-year process, involving special organizational and career training, research, dozens of hours spent shadowing professionals, making presentations to at least six community groups, holding a special event and engaging in community service.

Baker met with Elizabeth Kettell, EIOH Bibby librarian and webmaster, who gave Julia an overview of the Eastman Dental history and showed her the archives, which includes a collection of historical images and memorabilia. Julia enjoyed pictures from the early 1900’s of local children receiving dental treatment.

Baker was hooked, and wanted to help further.  That’s when she met with Lenora Colaruotolo, EIOH social worker, who helped Baker identify what donated items would be of best use for the patient population.

Throughout her community presentations, she shared Eastman’s commitment to providing oral health to Rochester’s children and how the need still exists today. From these various groups, friends and family, Baker collected 167 children’s books, 29 activity and coloring books, 10 DVD’s, 38 VHS tapes and 6 CD’s to donate to Eastman Dental’s Pediatric Dentistry Division, for children of all ages to enjoy in our busy waiting room.

“We greatly appreciate Julia’s interest in George Eastman’s commitment to providing oral health care to the children of Rochester, along with her effort to inform the community of his work,” Colaruotolo said. “We thank her on behalf of our pediatric patients who benefit from her collection of books, videos and CD’s for our waiting area. Julia has helped to make a very real difference in the lives of others.”

Going through the process and learning more about film at the George Eastman House further solidified her interest and is considering film as a career. “I’m just starting to look at colleges,” Baker added, “but the curator of the Motion Picture Department showed me that there are many different opportunities in the film and motion picture industry.”

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