READING, PA (February 13, 2019) – Programs that seek to reduce teen pregnancy, improve oral health, and enhance children’s nutrition and fitness are among the initiatives receiving $256,731 in healthcare grants from Berks County Community Foundation.

The grants came from three separate funds at the Community Foundation. The Community General Hospital Healthcare Fund recently awarded $205,684 in grants to nine initiatives. The DentaQuest Fund awarded $50,000 to six programs. The Arrow International Scholarship Fund awarded a grant of $1,047.

Grants from the Community General Hospital Healthcare Fund of Berks County Community Foundation:

  • $113,154 in three annual installments of $37,718 to the Co-County Wellness Services program “Berks Teens Matter.” This initiative seeks to cut the teenage pregnancy rate in Berks County by 40 percent by 2022 by using social media and youth ambassadors.
  • $40,000, payable over two years at $20,000 each year, to Berks Community Health Center to purchase equipment in a dental suite at the new Rockland Street location.

This is a portion of the dental suite at Berks Community Health Center’s new Rockland Street location.

  • $17,980 to the Reading School District Dental Department for its “Summer Sealant” program, which provides dental sealants to children who are enrolled in summer education programs. Dental sealant is a thin coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. This program also received a $10,000 “Brush Up on Oral Health!” Impact Grant (listed separately below) from the DentaQuest Fund of Berks County Community Foundation.
  • $15,000 to Miller-Keystone Blood Center for the Trima Accel system to increase the efficiency and quality of red blood cell and platelet productivity at the Reading Blood Donation Center. The system means 25 to 40 percent shorter procedure times for donors, allowing for more donations per day, and a better quality product.
  • $10,000 to Penn State Health St. Joseph for its Centering Parenting program, an expansion of the well-established Centering Pregnancy prenatal care model based at the hospital’s downtown Reading campus. Centering Parenting brings parents, partners, supporters and their same-age infants and toddlers together with healthcare providers to share experiences and create lifelong bonds between families.
  • $4,000 to Greater Berks Food Bank for its “Produce 4 Kids” program, which annually provides 175,000 pounds of fresh and healthy items for 7,000 children in the Reading School District to take home after school.
  • $2,600 to John Paul II Center for Special Learning for a unique physical education program to improve students’ motor skills, physical fitness, self-esteem, and social skills. The program also decreases the prevalence of secondary health complications, such as obesity and high blood pressure, and it helps students reduce or cope with anxiety, stress, and depression. This program has been designed specifically for the center.

Students participate in a unique physical education program at John Paul II Center for Special Learning.

  • $2,000 to Olivet Boys & Girls Club for its “Triple Play” program, which promotes health and wellness with a three-pronged strategy that targets mind, body and soul.
  • $950 to Planned Parenthood Keystone for the “Rapid HIV Testing” program. Only 37 percent of Berks residents have ever been tested for HIV, which is lower than the state and national averages (38 and 53 percent, respectively).

“Brush Up on Oral Health!” Impact Grants from the DentaQuest Fund of Berks County Community Foundation:

  • $10,000 to Community Prevention Partnership for “Bright Smiles,” which will educate more than 600 children from impoverished families about oral hygiene and link them to dental care.
  • $10,000 to the Reading School District Dental Department for its “Summer Sealant” program, which also received a grant of $17,980 (listed separately above) from the Community General Hospital Healthcare Fund of Berks County Community Foundation.
  • $9,870 to Berks Community Health Center for “Brush Up!-A Pediatric Education Program.” A community outreach worker will visit daycare centers in Reading to educate about 600 children through an interactive presentation on dental hygiene and provide dental hygiene kits containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, 2-minute timer, waxed floss, and educational material in English and Spanish. The worker will also visit about 200 pregnant women at area nonprofits to present information and provide infant dental kits.
  • $8,000 to All About Children Pediatric Partners for “Reach Out and Read” to distribute books on proper oral health habits to children from impoverished families.
  • $6,630 to Penn State Health St. Joseph for “Baby Steps to Better Dental Care” to develop programs for children under age 5 at the hospital’s downtown Reading campus.
  • $5,500 to Reading Public Library for “Tap into Your Library,” which provides stainless steel water bottles to 500 children who attend an oral health program and/or complete an oral health activity. The children fill and refill the bottles from sinks at home or at library water fountains where the water is fluoridated to help prevent cavities.

A grant from the Arrow International Scholarship Fund of Berks County Community Foundation (this fund provides scholarships and supports innovative projects designed to respond to unmet needs in the fields of human services, education and health):

  • $1,047 to Berks County Medical Society for printing costs for the “Community Health Clinic and Health Center Awareness” program. Material in English and Spanish will tell community members about free or affordable healthcare providers.

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Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing funds to meet existing and emerging community needs. More information is available at www.bccf.org.