Grants Create Foundation of Good Health and Learning

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The Golisano Foundation is bringing bright smiles to Mary Cariola students with their generous support OF the SMILEmobile, part of URMC’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health.

Dental care is the most frequently cited unmet healthcare need among individuals with developmental disabilities (IDD). According to an Eastman Dental study, it is widely recognized that the oral health of these individuals is significantly compromised and that access to dental care is diminished.

Most dentists are unprepared to treat IDD. Our students are often highly anxious about dental treatment and non-compliant with dental maintenance. As a result, we have created a partnership with the SMILEmobile to offer on-site oral health services to our students.

Eastman Dental Center’s Institute for Oral Health has developed innovative techniques and provides training for dentists to treat these patients. Their training is significantly supplemented by experience gained when the SMILEmobile visits Mary Cariola.

The SMILEmobile is available for any of the 450+ students at MCCC between the ages of 3-21 and is totally accessible. To date, we have seen a total of 137 students. We anticipate that interest will grow as the program’s positive results become known among our students and families. In addition, we have implemented a school-wide oral health program.

We are deeply grateful to the Golisano Foundation for supporting this very important service for our students.

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Thanks to a grant from the Rochester Press-Radio Club, Mary Cariola classrooms learned to create pottery while working on fine motor skills. Students worked with three different clays and made elbow pots and tiles - and discovered that pottery and art don’t have a right or wrong.

The grant allowed for pottery artist Christin Bentley from Bentley Studios to teach in the classroom. Often, field trips in the community are not possible due to the medical fragility of the students or inability to find transportation.

“When students are able to experience and create, without judgement, they know a freedom that is often not present in their lives,” explained Teacher Kathy Lee. “Many of the students who participated have minimal movement but they have thoughts and ideas.”

Pottery allows them to communicate using their systems and being. Students and staff worked on decision making and teamwork in a friendly and open session. It becomes easier for them to interact when art and pottery are involved. It allows them to move as they can.

“We watched the kids trying so hard to move their hands and arms, to hold up their head, to engage,” said Kathy. “It was a wonderful experience.”

Thank you, Rochester Press-Radio Club, for your generosity and support of art in the classroom!

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