Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, in collaboration with the Minnesota Alliance With Youth and Minnesota FCCLA, has awarded $30,000 in annual youth service grants and in-kind dental hygiene supplies to 36 sites in 31 communities. These competitive grants are awarded through Delta Dental’s Serve a Smile grant program to support youth-led service projects that address important oral health and overall health issues. The program provides young people with funds to create healthier schools and communities. Locally, two grants (totaling $1,875) were awarded to youth-led projects.
An $875 grant was awarded to Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes (TORCH) to support a Girls’ Group that focuses on topics of health and nutrition. Members of the TORCH Youth Advisory Board initiated this Delta Dental Serve a Smile project after seeing that there was a need for young women to have a safe space to discuss issues of health and wellbeing. Girls’ Group meets weekly at the Greenvale Park Community School to prepare healthy recipes together and to discuss issues of physical, mental, and socioemotional health relevant to high schoolers. Thanks to Delta Dental, Girls’ Group has been able to access much-needed food prep equipment and fresh, healthy ingredients, as well as journals for participants to record recipes and reflect on each week’s discussion topic. Girls’ Group welcomes all high school girls in grades 9-12 and meets each Thursday evening at the Greenvale Park Community School.
The second Delta Dental Serve a Smile grant adds $1,000 in financial support to the Viking Terrace Park playground project. Viking Terrace is a low-income mobile home park. The biggest observation made by youth in the neighborhood is the number of kids in the streets playing due to poor playground structures. With the support of Delta Dental, the young people living in the neighborhood will be able to purchase one additional piece of equipment to add to the park.
“Youth in Minnesota have some of the best ideas to change the world,” said Joseph Lally, Interim Executive Director of the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation and Community Benefits. “As we have for 13 years, we are proud to support their creativity and initiative through the Serve a Smile mini grant program.”
“The Serve a Smile program gives young people in our state the opportunity to engage in their communities through creative and impactful health-related service and leadership projects.” said Sarah Dixon, CEO of Minnesota Alliance With Youth. “The opportunity to give back and become involved in the community is critical to the academic and lifelong success of youth. We are thankful for our 13-year partnership with Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, an incredible supporter of youth in Minnesota.” Dixon said.
Please join the Serve a Smile grant recipients at Global Youth Service Day, the largest youth service event in the world. The Minnesota celebration will be held on April 16th at Southdale Mall.
Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is designed to support Delta Dental of Minnesota’s mission of improving the oral health of the people in Minnesota and advancing the science and art of oral health in Minnesota. The Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation supports initiatives that promote access to oral health and, in turn, improve the overall health and vitality of our community. To learn more, visit www.deltadentalmn.org.
Minnesota Alliance With Youth is a leading convener, collaborator, and capacity-builder for youth development. The Alliance seeks to strengthen youth success in school and learning, increase youth engagement in communities, develop and magnify youth voice, and advance collaboration and innovation with entities that share its vision. For more information about Minnesota Alliance With Youth or Global Youth Service Day, visit www.mnyouth.net.