Healthy Smiles gets help to bring dental care to Valley kids

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For some of us, going to the dentist is a normal appointment. But for some families in the Valley, it can be a luxury expense they just can't afford. Now, a big donation will help one local foundation bring dental care to Valley kids.

It's just another morning at the dentist office or at the dentist bus for this Teague Elementary School student. Local foundation Healthy Smiles brings care to kids at their schools and teaches them important health lessons about dental health all from this office on four wheels.

"I'm learning about how to brush teeth," said student Ethan Woolf.

School administrators say it's important to have healthy kids and that can make a world of difference in the classroom.

"What we know and what we talk about all the time is the health of our kids and how vital the health and making sure our kids are healthy is before they come into school. Because if they're not healthy, if they're not feeling well, they're not ready to learn," said Central Unified Superintendent Mike Berg.

The local foundation got a big boost in its efforts. On Friday, the Cigna Foundation presented Healthy Smiles with a $103,000 World of Difference grant. It will provide care to more than 2,500 underserved children in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Merced counties.

"To have this funding and to go out there and to share all this information, it's a lifesaver," said Healthy Smiles CEO Susan Kodama.

Kodama was on hand for the event. Her husband started the mobile office, and she has kept his legacy going after his unexpected death through these outreach efforts.

At the event, students also got a chance to go through the Cigna Learning Lab and learn about everything from stress to fitness to food. Administrators say they hope to create healthy habits in these kids that will last a lifetime.

With this donation, the Healthy Smiles Foundation says it can't wait to roll out dental care to more Valley kids.

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