Community Dental Program Helps Kids
Project Smile Harnesses Power of Public, Private Partnerships
The North Fort Collins Business Association (NFCBA) recently received special recognition from the PSD board of education for providing dental care and winter gear to students who attend Irish Elementary.
Board of Education director Nancy Tellez thanked the members of the NFCBA for their determination to remove dental pain and problems as a barrier to education by supporting Project Smile.
“Thank you for stepping up and saying yes when asked to help fill a need, and for what you are doing for our kids,” Tellez said.
Project Smile Expands to Include Irish Elementary and Putnam School of Science
Project Smile is a community dental program developed by the NFCBA in partnership with other Fort Collins area businesses, Irish Elementary School, the PSD Partnership Center, the Health District of Northern Larimer County, area dentists and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado. The program provides an opportunity for area businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor children in serious need of dental care.
Project Smile was developed in recent years to help Irish Elementary students who were often absent or in pain during school due to dental pain and problems, impacting their ability to concentrate in class and overall academic performance. That all changed during the 2008-2009 school year when students made 449 visits to participating dentists for much needed dental care.
The organization is already gearing up and hopes to help 500 students this year with between 700 and 800 dental visits, providing care for students at Irish Elementary as well as at Putnam School of Science.
“We’re concerned citizens who believe education equals freedom,” said Ron Lautsenheiser, of the NFCBA. “This program has eradicated dental concerns as a problem at Irish Elementary, and this year, we are expanding to Putnam School of Science. The program speaks to the power of harnessing public/private partnerships. ”
In addition to supporting Project Smile, the NFCBA also provided warm coats, cozy winter stocking caps and boots to students in six PSD schools, and plans to continue a similar effort during the 2009-10 school year.
For information about how to help, call the PSD Partnership Center at 490-3207.