Operation Tooth Fairy

A Peacemaking Project by Quinn M.

What is the injustice we are solving?

According to America’s Tooth Fairy, “More than 40% of children have dental cavities by the time they reach kindergarten.” For many low-income families, the cost of a dentist or even toothcare supplies can be insurmountable. Dental decay is the most prevalent and preventable childhood disease. Operation Tooth Fairy brings education and toothcare kits to low income families with kids ages 0-5.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of Kids are suffering because their families can’t afford dental supplies and education. There are many people including me who never had to deal with this growing up and don’t know what people are going through.
we will address Inequities in dental care for kids ages 0-5
by creating a multilingual website with children’s dental care instructions and resources as well as dental care kits specifically for babies and preschoolers. The kits, distributed to local hospitals and food pantries, also include tooth care supplies.

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • To raise awareness by bringing dental care and supplies to low-income families with children 0-5
  • To inspire others to do the same in their communities

We will increase my / our compassion by...

Raising awareness that not everyone has access to even the simplest dental care tools such as toothpaste and toothbrushes.

How will you show courage?

By continuing to bring the issue forward so people are aware of it. I do not think anyone wants little kids to suffer because of lack of access to dental care and information but often we live in our own bubbles and need someone to point inequalities out.

How will you collaborate with others?

In addition to doing drives for supplies, I will coordinate volunteers to put kits together. I also am collaborating with others to get my information packets translated in relevant languages.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

I will be successful if I can collect supplies for the kits and identify who really needs them. In addition, I will also watch for hits on my website.

Key Steps

  • Grant writing
  • Research
  • Connecting with agencies that deal with my target audience
  • Spreading the word through social media
  • Supply drives
  • Coordinate volunteer kit assembly days

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

Most Americans assume that everyone in our country has access to simple things like toothpaste and toothbrushes but that is not the case for everyone. Often dental care Is not covered by healthcare plans. In fact, for many low-income families choosing to buy both food and dental supplies is not an option. The project has really opened my mind to the realities of poverty for our youngest citizens.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

So far I have been able to create over 400 kits and donate them to a local food pantry, a low-income children's dental health day and my local WIC office (Women, Infants, and Children). All three organization have told me how grateful the families were to receive the kits. In fact, WIC wrote me recently asking for more. I am hoping to create at least 700 more in June. In addition, my website has also spread the word of dental decay, its prevention and where low-income families can get dental care locally.

How many people were impacted by your project?

410

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

I created about 410 kits which provide dental supplies to kids ages 0-5 and i have successfully been able to have them all distributed, so at least 410 people have been helped.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

After creating my kits we went to a a free dental clinic day where they were doing free check-ups and procedures for low-income families. I was able to talk to the families and the staff who told me about how important these dental care days are. I also worked with someone from the Multnomah County Health Department to get information on how to reach my target audiences, the underserved 0-5 year olds in my area.

What did your team learn?

I learn that dental disease is the more prevalent and preventable childhood disease. Though low-income children often end up getting dental services once they get to school, a lot of damage has already been done by that time and most of it could have been avoided if people just had access to good dental care information, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

What challenges did your team overcome?

Initially had a hard time finding an organization willing to take my kits. I knew that preschoolers and babies were having problems getting these supplies since I had met school age children with severe dental disease but it took me a while to figure out what groups were serving families of 0-5 year olds. Once I found WIC it was a perfect match: they help young children and recently had the funding for their dental supply program shorten so they could no longer provide toothbrushes and toothpaste for the families.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

I hosted a kit making day that involved over 50 other Girl Scouts, that was staffed by my troop of 12 high school Girl Scouts. In addition, I have found a 2nd grade Girl Scout troop who will work with me over the next year to learn how to project works and keep it going once I go off to college in June of 2019. In fact, we are doing another kit making day next month, to both teach the troop how it works as well as make more kits out for those families who need them.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

To start a peace making project, find something you really care about. You will spend a lot of time with your project so you need to really like it. Your beneficiaries are depending on you! Also, ask for help. The worst thing you will hear is "no" but more often, people will want to help.

Our Updates:

Operation Tooth Fairy kit making day

Quinn M. 9 January 2018 22:58 On Saturday, January 6th, 50 Girl Scout volunteers helped me put together 430 toothcare kits for low-income preschoolers in my area!

http://www.kgw.com/mobile/article/life/heartwarming/portland-teen-acts-as-tooth-fairy-for-kids-in-need/505631957

Children’s Dental Health Day

Quinn M. 3 February 2018 13:58 Supporting Clark County’s free Children Dental Health Day clinic at Clark College by handing out Operation Tooth Fairy dental care kits to low-income 0-5 year olds.

Cougar Cubs Get Operation Tooth Fairy kits

Quinn M. 11 June 2018 16:06 Operation Tooth Fairy distributed kits to the free Monday afternoon preschool at Ogden Elementary on Monday, June 4th!

Comments:

Amy T.
1 August 2018 13:51

Hi Quinn!

Amy here--I'm a member of the Peace First team, and I wanted to let you know that I really like how your project serves low-income families who may not have the financial needs to get dental care supplies. It is definitely an overlooked injustice and I'm so happy to hear that you were able to deliver 410 kits and make a website + pamphlets (in multiple languages too!) that provide extra information and assistance for families who need it. I hope that you'll submit an application to tell your story at the first-ever Peace First Summit on 9/16!

Applications are due today, August 1--you should have more information in your email inbox. Here's the application link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd6X9fTrSTC6PoXjLpVUtNlJgZHbd5QdB6-hgxlC-d7DBlK_g/viewform Please let me know if you have any questions--I hope you'll apply!

Warmly,
Amy

Fish S.
10 January 2018 12:00

Quinn, thanks for posting this project! This is really awesome work. Poverty makes so many things inaccessible that we take for granted -- and dental care is an important one of these. Thanks for shining a light on this important, and often overlooked, injustice!

I love your next steps -- creating a multilingual website and assembling more kits. How will you make sure that families are getting this information?

Most importantly -- how can we help you?

Quinn M.
13 January 2018 17:03

Hi, again.

In addition to putting information pamphlets in all the kits that I am distributing to hospitals, food pantries and low-income dental clinics, I have create a multilingual website. The link is included on all the pamphlets but I am also in touch with our county Dental Public Health coordinator and hope she will send out the link to her contacts at local health care agencies. I am open to other outreach suggestions.

In addition, I plan to apply for one of Peace First's mini-grants. The need for these supplies is so great. 400 kits is just not enough.

~ Quinn

Fish S.
15 January 2018 14:18

I think that sounds great -- we're excited to support you. Have you been in touch with local dentists to get their suggestions?

Quinn M.
15 January 2018 14:51

Yes, they helped me refine what would be most useful in the kits and what should be on my tooth care flyer. In addition they gave me suggestions as to where I could distribute them.

Fish S.
16 January 2018 14:19

That's fantastic. Really glad to hear that you're working with so many folks in the community. Anything else we can be helpful with in the near future? :)

Kelsey T.
2 February 2018 12:45

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below

Strengths:
This is a wonderful project idea! You have identified a real injustice that not many people are thinking about, let alone taking action to correct. I appreciate that you are both addressing the current need by getting supplies to low-income families and creating educational resources AND addressing some of the root causes by spreading awareness that this is an issue. You have also demonstrated a clear understanding of why this persists and how a lack of awareness of the issue is allowing it to continue -- you are so right that people live in their own bubble and often never think about things like this! Finally, I appreciate how you are collaborating with others to make this happen, and tapping into the skills (such as language translation) that others can bring to the table.

Things to Consider:
One thing to consider a bit more is how you will measure your impact. How many kits are you hoping to create and get in the hands of those who need them? How will you measure the impact of your efforts to spread awareness and get other people involved in addressing this issue? Is there a way you can keep track of people who find out about this project and decide to help out or contribute to addressing this injustice in some way?

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!

Fish S.
7 June 2018 9:19

Hi Quinn!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

Quinn, I hope I won't be the first to tell you how amazing your work is - or how awesome you are. This is such an incredible, necessary project. But the thing that's most inspiring to me is the fact that you've used this experience to think more deeply about what might be causing these problems - poverty, lack of dental care coverage, the high cost of supplies - through conversations with folks in your community. I'm also really impressed by how you persevered through initial setbacks - and worked so closely with others (WIC, Girl Scouts, the health department) to bring about this change. These are such important parts of being a peacemaker!

I'm so excited that you want to keep moving this project forward. We are here to help with whatever we can. I have a question: now that you have a deeper understanding of the root causes of your problem, how will that change your project? Are you planning to add to or change your work to address those injustices that keep people from accessing good dental care? Can we help you think about how to do that?

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!

Fish