Last year, we partnered with Red Nose Day USA, whose mission is to end child poverty, one nose at a time—by keeping children healthy, educated, and safe—to implement our Healthy and Ready for the Future program.
The program seeks to provide a healthy start in oral health and early education for Latino children, especially those from migrant and seasonal farmworker families, across rural America. In partnership with six Affiliates in AZ, CA, FL, TX, and WA—local Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and community-based organizations with migrant and seasonal head start (MSHS) programs—UnidosUS improves access to timely and equitable oral and primary health care services for Latino children, especially migrant children, across 60 rural communities.
Last year we set out to connect 10,000 children with essential dental services and connected close to 20,000 instead—that’s 20,000 children that are getting needed health services early on—health services that will help them better learn and thrive in school. One of those children, whose story we featured, was six-year-old Miguel Angel.
His mother Yesenia, a migrant farmworker, attended a presentation put on by community health workers of Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, an Affiliate that partners with UnidosUS to deliver Healthy and Ready for the Future in both Imperial and Riverside County in CA. With the help of the community health workers, Yesenia took her sons Miguel Angel and Jose Luis to one of Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo’s dental clinics, as the boys had complained of tooth pain. A dentist was able to fill their cavities and help Yesenia come up with a plan to keep their teeth healthy.
Unfortunately, disparities in health and educational outcomes are often greater for children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. By the age of 5, about 60% of U.S. children will have had a cavity. Additionally, children living in poverty are twice as likely to suffer tooth decay than their more affluent peers. An estimated 30% of migrant and seasonal farmworkers live below the poverty line—double the rate of all Americans living below the poverty line (15%)—putting their children at greater risk for tooth decay.
Because untreated tooth decay can lead to problems with eating, speaking, learning, and socializing, often resulting in higher school absenteeism, and lower self-esteem—addressing this issue early on is key to create opportunities for these children to more effectively learn and develop.
In addition to fighting child poverty, Red Nose Day is aiming to teach children more about the experience of poverty. Miguel Angel’s story was featured in the Red Nose Day in School curriculum, an educational program for children in grades 3-5 that aims to help them better understand the issue of poverty, foster empathy, and inspire them to make positive change for other children. You can find all the resources at www.RedNoseDayinSchool.org.
Farmworkers’ contributions to our country are endless, often enduring long hours and arduous conditions to ensure our nation’s food supply. Yet their and their children’s unique health needs are often overlooked. Programs like Healthy and Ready for the Future help farmworker families and their children learn more about oral health, and gain access to needed health services that pave the way to healthy start in life.
This year, we are partnering with Red Nose Day again on Healthy and Ready for the Future. You can support Red Nose Day, and help thousands of children gain access to essential health services through Healthy and Ready for the Future, by buying a red nose at Walgreens—on sale now.
Find out more about Red Nose Day USA here.
— Red Nose Day USA (@RedNoseDayUSA) April 2, 2018