407-823-3094 LiveUnited@ucf.edu

September 2016 | By Megan Pabian  

The local United Way acts as a fundraising umbrella for dozens of smaller charities that support education and childhood development, promote financial stability, nurture healthy families and alleviate hunger and homelessness. One of these charities is the Dental Care Access Foundation, Inc. This group of volunteer dental providers helps Central Florida residents who cannot afford dental care by donating their time to take care of urgent dental needs, thereby keeping these patients out of the emergency room. To do this, the foundation’s volunteers work after-hours in their private offices, dental offices that donate the space, or in local health department clinics.

“We are focused on providing urgent care dental treatment,” said Aisha Man͂on, a UCF Health Services dentist and board member for the Dental Care Access Foundation. “Our goal is to treat infection so that it stays confined to the oral cavity and does not further impact the patient’s overall health,” Man͂on said. “This in turn aids the healthcare system by alleviating the additional strain on our emergency rooms.”

The Dental Care Access Foundation, Inc. has implemented a new program which started in 2013 in partnership with Heart of Florida United Way.  Volunteers from the foundation visit elementary schools throughout Orange County (targeting low-income schools with high participation in free lunch programs) and provide one-on-one oral hygiene instruction, age appropriate toothbrush, toothpaste and floss and application of fluoride varnish for children with signed permission from a guardian or parent. With this program alone last year, in-kind dental services provided by the foundation’s volunteers amounted to over $345,000.

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“The school program allows us to provide that ounce of prevention to educate children on the importance of oral hygiene so that they do not experience dental issue later down the road,” Man͂on said.

By giving to the UCF Live United campaign, your dollars go toward supporting programs such as the Dental Care Access Foundation, Inc. Donations can be designated to the charity of your choice, or to an Investing in Results focus area; such as Health. To learn more about the UCF Live United campaign and all your giving options, please visit www.liveunited.ucf.edu. The campaign runs throughout the month of October and UCF has set a goal of raising $200,000 for our local community.

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