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The schools are winners of MESSA and DDF’s “Rethink Your Drink: Water’s Cool at School program,” designed to encourage children to drink more water during the school day. (The list of winners follows this press release.)
“Drinking water throughout the school day is key to staying focused and energized,” said Teri Battaglieri, Delta Dental Foundation director. “Not only are sugar-sweetened beverages like pop and juice drinks bad for your teeth, they can contribute to other health issues such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. We want more students to have access to drinking water during the day so they can keep their teeth and bodies strong and healthy.”
MESSA Executive Director Ross Wilson said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Delta Dental Foundation on this important program. MESSA is committed to supporting education employees as they look to improve their own health while modeling good examples for their students.”
Winning schools will have old drinking fountains replaced with Elkay water fountain/bottle filling stations by Oak Park-based Balfrey & Johnston. The winners will also receive reusable water bottles for students and staff.
More than 600 schools applied for the program, and winners were selected based on several criteria, including age and condition of their current drinking fountains, creativity of their applications, percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and geographic location.
The Water’s Cool at School program was piloted at Okemos Public Montessori at Central in September 2016. Within the first month, students increased their water consumption and saved more than 2,200 empty water bottles from going into a landfill.
About Delta Dental Foundation: The Delta Dental Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization established in 1980, which serves as the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina. The Foundation is dedicated to improving the oral health of the public and to advancing dental science through education and research. For more information, visit www.deltadentalmi.com.