Something we’re NOT known for

Who We Are | 06/18/2019

Toya Fick
Executive Director, Stand for Children Oregon

At Stand for Children, we’re known for a few things…

We’re tireless advocates for students, who – far too often – are voiceless in the political conversations around school funding and education opportunities.

We’re committed to helping every high school in Oregon deliver a world-class education to their students through exciting Measure 98 investments and 9th Grade Success support from the Oregon Center for High School Success.

And we’re proud to help students who have overcome incredible odds growing up achieve their dreams of a college degree through our Beat the Odds scholarship program.

But some of the most fulfilling aspects of the lasting impact we have achieved together are the unintended ones.

In 1999, Stand for Children leaders in the Salem-Keizer area surveyed educators about what their students needed most. One might expect to hear books, or backpacks, or school supplies…but what they actually heard back was dental care. Students were suffering from poor dental hygiene, and it was interrupting their ability to learn.

Following that survey, the topic was raised at a local Stand for Children meeting, and the Stand leaders in the room did exactly what Stand leaders do best: they organized for a solution.

Soon after that meeting, a group of local dentists agreed to donate their services to students in need, and in return, the dentists got local schools to help prevent tooth decay through proactive support. Students who were never taught how to brush their teeth, or who never had access to a toothbrush, received donated supplies and training.

What started with that Stand-led survey and local meeting grew over time to become a $200,000-per-year operation. Nearly all is paid through grants and in-kind work, and thanks to those generous efforts, the program continues two decades later and has provided free screenings for nearly 125,000 kids.

The Salem Reporter ran a great story recently sharing the backstory behind the dental health initiative in Salem-Keizer schools, and you can read all about it here.

We’re thrilled at the impact of our work, and the victory we achieved together to fully fund Measure 98. But we’re just as proud of the impacts that few people even know about.

That’s the sign of truly good work, and we can’t do it without you.

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Thank you for standing with us every step of the way.

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