Okemos, Michigan—As part of its “Rethink Your Drink campaign,” the Delta Dental Foundation has teamed up with MESSA for the “Water’s Cool at School” program, which will provide new drinking fountains for some Michigan schools.
The program is designed to ensure children drink enough water during the school day and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. The Delta Dental Foundation and MESSA will commit $100,000 toward replacing and installing new water filling stations to schools across Michigan that apply and are selected for the program.
Applications open September 11.
Selected schools will have older drinking fountains replaced with new Elkay water fountain/bottle filling stations installed by Oak Park-based Balfrey & Johnston. In addition, selected schools will receive reusable water bottles for students and staff.
“More than 50 percent of children and teens in the U.S. are not properly hydrated during the school day which can, among other things, impact cognitive function and energy levels,” said Teri Battaglieri, Delta Dental Foundation director. “When kids choose to quench their thirst with sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda pop, juice and sports drinks, this can have adverse effects on their teeth and their bodies.”
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.”
Okemos Public Montessori at Central was the first school in the state to pilot the program in 2016. The school saved more than 11,000 empty water bottles from going into a landfill, and it increased water consumption among the student body.
Michigan schools interested in applying should visit deltadentalmi.com/wateratschool and submit their application by October 15. Schools can also apply at messa.org/wateratschool.
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 deltadentalmi.com.
About MESSA: MESSA is a not-for-profit membership association that provides health and ancillary benefit plans to teachers, education support professionals, school administrators and higher education employees throughout Michigan. MESSA places a strong emphasis on member education, wellness and preventive care to reduce the cost of health care while supporting its members’ good health. More information at messa.org.