More than 300 children went back to school with a healthier outlook, thanks to two outreach events where Christiana Care partnered with community groups.
At Wilmington Hospital, Christiana Care Health Ambassadors helped kids get ready for the classroom. About 175 children and their parents turned out for the Healthy+Cool = Back2School event Aug. 19 at the hospital annex at 14th and Washington streets.
“We’re devoted to helping raise healthy families and this was a great opportunity to focus on children and their developmental milestones,” said Carla Aponte, MS, Health Ambassadors program manager.
By taking care, education and other resources directly to the community, Christiana Care helps neighbors become active partners in their health.
The event also was a chance for kids age 13 and younger to gather supplies from Christiana Care and community partners. Youngsters took crayons, pencils, erasers, markers, notebooks, paper and rulers home in new backpacks.
Families enjoyed hotdogs, ice cream and bottled water. There were free blood pressure screenings, and representatives from New Castle County Libraries helped parents sign up for library cards. Young adults from Camp FRESH, a Christiana Care program that teaches teens to make healthy choices, played games with the kids.
That same day, two first-year dental residents from Christiana Care, Ryan Graham, D.D.S., and Andrew Gschweng, D.M.D., volunteered to give exams to children at a back-to-school rally at the Sunday Breakfast Mission, a shelter for homeless people in Wilmington.
“These residents realize the importance of doing community work and are generous in giving their time,” said Susan Pugliese, D.D.S., general practice dentistry residency program director. “In addition to providing quality care, they are bringing an awareness that dental health is as important as medical care.”
In all, 149 children were screened. Kids also got a lesson in proper brushing and the importance of dental hygiene.
Of the youngsters who were examined, 91 had no problems, 41 were in need of routine care and 17 had urgent problems, such as multiple areas of decay or infection in the gums.
Christiana Care Social Worker Linda Brennan-Jones followed up with parents to ensure kids get the care they need, connecting them with dentists who can help, including the Edwin L. Granite, D.M.D., Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery & Hospital Dentistry Clinic at Wilmington Hospital, which offers discounted or free treatment to patients who qualify.
“One child came into our clinic last week, and we expect there will be others,” she said. “It’s our hope that this will result in these children getting regular dental checkups.”