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Center for Health Literacy Students: Schools for Smiles

We are Schools for Smiles, a University of Maryland student organization spreading oral hygiene awareness, one child at a time. On top of being a SGA-recognized student organization, Schools for Smiles is also the recepient of the 2017 University of Maryland School of Public Policy's Do Good Institute's Mini-Grant. The group was started by four enthusiastic UMD Behavioral and Community Health (BCH) and Public Health Science students in Spring 2015. Dr. Alice Horowitz and Dr. Sylvette La Touche-Howard serve as our faculty advisors.

What is our purpose?

The mission of Schools for Smiles is to provide free, sponsored, regular oral hygiene lessons in elementary schools to promote oral health. 

What are our goals?

  • Decrease incidence and prevalence of oral diseases prevalent among low-income children and families
  • Promote oral health in kids with free oral hygiene supplies
  • Engage in health oral health habits at school, with a special focus on preventing tooth decay and gum disease
  • Create community partnerships between oral health professionals, companies, parents, and elementary schools.

What do we do at schools?

We are currently partnered with Edward Felegy Elementary School in Prince George’s County, MD. Last semester, we worked with over 300 preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders to…

  • Dispense oral health supplies
  • Give lessons and offer interactive activities on healthy oral health habits
  • Discuss the importance of fluoride
  • Provide print materials in both English and Spanish for Spanish-speaking families

Who are we currently partnered with?

We’ve expanded our events to collaborate with other organizations on campus like:

  • Miles for Smiles UMD 5K run in 2017
  • Student Dental Advisory Board for a potential collaboration in an upcoming health and wellness fair

What are we planning for the future?

  • Increase the number of classroom visits 
  • Provide similar information for parents and faculty at parent-teacher meetings

Why should you get involved with Schools for Smiles?

As a volunteer, you get:

  • A rewarding experience working with enthusiastic children on improving their oral health
  • A chance to make a difference in a child’s daily routine and life 
  • A glimpse of professional life (for pre-dental and pre-health students) 

How do I get involved?

For students who are interested in joining or learning more about Schools for Smiles, contact us at


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