Grantee Blog 2020

Spring and Summer Plans for UWCJ’s Dental Health Program at JFK Elementary

Our Dental Health Month activities were a big success!

A local dental hygienist produced YouTube videos for the children about “brushing your teeth,” and “going to the dentist,” which included a tour of a dentist’s office. The children also were treated to a video of “The Door Near the Floor,” read by its author, about the Tooth Fairy’s wish that all children would take good care of their teeth. These activities were critical to enabling us to keep spreading the message about good dental health, even during the pandemic.

As part of Dental Health Month, the hygienist also prepared dental goody bags, for which UWCJ provided some supplies. The bags were filled with toothbrushes and toothpaste, refillable water bottles and printable dental activities. Best of all, the bags contained playdoh dental kits with playdoh teeth and mini dental equipment that let the children mold teeth, fill cavities, brush the teeth, examine them, remove food from between teeth and even remove any cavities they “found.” Thus, in the context of play, children were able to be the dentist, which will make them more knowledgeable and less fearful during future trips to the dentist.

As part of these activities, we also distributed a list of low cost or free local dental health services, including services accessible to immigrant and undocumented people.

Our Week of the Young Child activities advanced our dental health initiative!

WOYC was observed in mid-April this year. Good nutrition, a key component of good dental health, also is a focus of our grant. So, for “Tasty Tuesday” healthy foods and vegetables, in a bag labeled “Be Smart, Eat Smart!” were distributed to the students.  They were challenged to eat the food and then enter their favorite selections onto a Bingo board.

Full STEAM Ahead! This summer, despite covid restrictions, we anticipate that JFK will be open for summer programs. If possible, we will incorporate dental health lessons into the summer “STEAM” curriculum for preschoolers. This will not only allow UWCJ to keep promoting dental health, but also help the students overcome “summer learning loss” worsened by any covid-related learning loss during the school year.

About the Grantee

United Way of Central Jersey

The United Way of Central Jersey provides leadership to create opportunities for a better life for people living or working in our community who are needy, at risk and vulnerable. We achieve this by mobilizing people,organizations and financial resources to create and sustain programs that achieve targeted outcomes and lasting change through volunteerism, partnerships,services and advocacy.