I discovered a fabulous initiative while I was in Kentucky this past September for Idea Festival called Making Smiles Happen, which is all about improving health through better oral care.
Photo credit: www.bestevents.us
New in 2015, the Delta Dental of Kentucky charitable initiative Making Smiles Happen supports non-profits. They’re providing financial support in the form of a charitable donation to a variety of non-profit partners focused on ensuring children and adults in Kentucky have access to oral care and oral health education. Their goal is to fund programs that can overall help Kentuckians live healthier lives, which I love given the state of our healthcare system.
They also apparently accept applications for organizations that are of great service to the communities in which Delta Dental serves and since its inception, they have already awarded grants to more than 60 organizations statewide. I love this idea — it would be great to see other states step up to the plate and take on similar programs around the country. Bravo!
Photo credit: Delta Dental KY
At this year’s Idea Festival, their team set up a massive larger than life-sized green horse at the Kentucky Center and asked people to write down a word or phrase of “what makes them happy,”and paste it on the horse. Over the course of the three days, a number of creative answers emerged. Some of my favorites include the ones I list below…
A job that I love, my children, innovation and creativity, my sister, coffee, making others smile, culture, Jesus, #language, organic lifestyle, music, pizza, Christmas, ultimate frisbee, writing, my dog, waking up in the morning blessed, the universe, when #diversity is embraced (mine), dark chocolate, canoeing on a lake at dawn (also mine), flowing water, #horses, perspective, my wife, laughing children, all inclusive feminism, my truck, taking pictures, making art and helping someone!
There’s no shortage of innovative and fresh creative ideas that their Louisville-based team is working on. They also have a program called Teeth on the Go, which is a statewide oral health education program, catered to kindergarten through sixth grade students and their teachers. They offer free Teeth on the Go oral health learning kits, which can be requested by teachers anywhere in the state, as well as in-school presentations featuring University of Louisville & University of Kentucky dental students and their mascot, Marshall Molar. How cute is that?
The main goal is to teach kids about proper oral hygiene. The free kits include one week’s worth of lesson plans for grades K-2 and grades 3-6, activities and worksheets that can be photocopied for mass distribution, an oversize tooth and toothbrush model to demonstrate good brushing techniques (I love this), a CD of The Brush-A-Long song (hilarious), a DVD about oral health care for children and children’s books about oral health.