BRIGHT SMILES Dental Health Project
One of the most successful projects that we've been a part of is the BRIGHT SMILES Dental Health Project funded by Kern Community Foundation with Community Wellness Funds. This project was headed up by K.U.S.D. School Nurse Randy Fieber. The first objective was to present an oral hygiene awareness program at six school sites in the Kern River Valley for first through eighth grade students. Those schools included Wallace Elementary, Wallace Middle, Kernville Elementary, Rio Vista Community Day School, South Fork Elementary, and South Fork Middle School. District Nurse Randy Fieber did 44 classroom visitations using a "toothy" horse puppet named Jake to help deliver the message.
Nurse Randy was able to educate 1,183 students in dental hygiene and oral health and even reached older siblings through home visits and contacts with parents. Appealing oral health packets containing toothpaste, an age-appropriate toothbrush, disclosure tablet, and floss were presented to each of the 1,183 students and their older siblings. One student commented to Nurse Randy that this was the first toothbrush of their very own that they had ever received.
Families attending the annual Living Green Community Fair on March 21, 2010 received oral health information as well as visitors at two Back to School nights at Kernville Elementary and the combined Wallace Elementary-Middle School event.
The second and third objectives were to provide dental screening to all six school sites and referrals for children in need. Nurse Randy worked with the Kern County Children's Dental Health Network to schedule screenings and minimal treatments on site to preschool and kindergarten students. He also provided dental screening with help from Family Resource Center Staff to the older students. Children identified with immediate dental needs were helped with locating appropriate dentists and even transportation in the form of bus tickets or gas vouchers.
The connections that were made during this project allowed an L.A. based agency to contact BRIGHT SMILES and offer on-school site dental services for all our students for school years 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013.
We extend our deepest gratitude to Kern Community Foundation for funding this worthy project in an often overlooked rural (and beautiful) area. This project would not have been possible without Kern Community Foundation and Community Wellness Funds - THANK YOU!