Over 200 children in Franklin and Patrick counties may enjoy better oral health thanks to a donation to STEP’s Head Start/Early Head Start from the Rotary Club of Smith Mountain Lake.
A donation of $550 from the club was used to purchase 17 toothbrush sanitizers for each of the Head Start classrooms in Rocky Mount and Stuart. The children in the program brush their teeth twice a day with their own toothbrushes while they are at school, but whenever a child gets sick all of the toothbrushes must be replaced, according to Head Start/Early Head Start Program Director Shelly McClintock.
“It seems such a small thing, but it is incredibly important to the children’s overall health to brush their teeth,” McClintock said. “Being able to clean the toothbrushes with the sanitizers eliminates the need to replace them so often and makes it easier to keep down the spread of germs and illness.”
McClintock and her staff prepared a scrapbook with photos of the children brushing their teeth, learning about oral health, and handwritten thank-you notes to present to the Rotarians during their Thursday, April 28 breakfast meeting at The Westlake Golf and Country Club.
Head Start is a comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement program serving nearly 25 million pre-school aged children across the United States. It is designed to foster the healthy development of infants and toddlers and children up to age four from low-income families.
STEP provides education, nutritious meals, and the opportunity for the social, emotional, and intellectual growth that helps to prepare the children for success in school and life. In addition, STEP Head Start provides health screenings along with medical and dental support services. The Head Start approach serves the entire family and seeks to empower both parent and child.