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The Finer Properties of the Valley of the Sun

The Finer Properties of the Valley of the Sun

Thunderbirds Charities offers Esperanca $35K grant to fund oral health education

Photo of patient through grant dollars provided by Thunderbirds Charities
With grant dollars provided, Esperança will provide 4,000 children, who are at risk of poor oral health (and other health issues as a result), with education needed to improve their daily oral hygiene practices. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)
Thunderbirds Charities supports access to equitable oral health efforts
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Esperança, a Phoenix-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has been awarded a $35,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities — the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds, hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The funds will be used to support the organization’s Children’s Oral Health Education Program, teaching under-resourced Latino children (preschool – Grade 8) living in Maricopa County, about the importance of good oral health, according to a press release.

Thunderbirds Charities representatives report Esperança will provide 4,000 children, who are at risk of poor oral health (and other health issues as a result), with the education needed to improve their daily oral hygiene practices.

“Thanks to the generosity of The Thunderbirds and Thunderbirds Charities, Esperança’s bilingual and bicultural educators will conduct oral health education programs at Title I schools located in predominantly Latino communities throughout the Valley,” says Jeri Royce, president & CEO of Esperança. “This is just one example of how this generous support from Thunderbirds Charities will help us continue our mission to combat poor oral health, obesity and diabetes through our bilingual health education programs.”

Thunderbirds Charities supports access to equitable oral health efforts

In Arizona, nearly 60% of children coming into kindergarten have cavities – that’s twice the national average, and Hispanic children have the highest percentages (41%) of untreated tooth decay among children, according to a Pew Foundation study.

“We know that poor oral health in children has long-term effects as they age and risks of serious illnesses such as cardio-vascular disease or certain types of cancer can occur,” Ms. Royce said. “The pain from poor oral health also affects children’s ability to concentrate in school, resulting in increased absences, lower scholastic achievement, dropping out of school, and lower earning potential as adults.”

Esperança’s bilingual and bicultural educators’ partner with Title I schools such as Tolleson, Roosevelt, Wilson, Osborn, Creighton, and Murphy School Districts and will deliver oral health education to children to stress the importance of good oral health, the need for routine dental visits, and proper daily oral hygiene practices.

Educators demonstrate how to properly brush and floss, and after the presentation, every program participant will receive a Smile Bag that includes an age-appropriate toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss.

Through the program, Esperança will also provide referrals to culturally appropriate and low/no-cost dental clinics, such as the Parsons Center for Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics for children to receive the dental care they desperately need.

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