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"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6
February 2024
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Delta Dental of Arizona, Southwest Human Development Dedicate Little Free Library in Glendale
By Alison Bailin - Sunday Mar 12, 2023
On March 10, Delta Dental of Arizona president and chief executive officer Michael Jones joined Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers and Southwest Human Development chief development officer Jake Adams to dedicate a Little Free Library as well as dozens of books – including several age-appropriate titles on oral health – at the Glendale Homes property at 5237 W. Ocotillo, a Glendale rental housing community.

“This ‘take a book, return a book’ free book exchange will provide children the opportunity to read fun, age-appropriate books at home, which could very well be the only book that child owns,” says Jones. “The Little Free Library program helps inspire readers and expand access to educational materials to improve the overall wellness of our communities.”

According to Little Free Library, the overarching 501c3 organization that founded the concept, studies show that children growing up in homes without books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books, even when controlled for other key factors. One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase their access to books, especially at home. But two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own.

Mayor Weiers commented, “Literacy is critically important to all children, and I know the books will be put to good use in this neighborhood. I’m pleased Delta Dental chose this well-traveled area across from Clavelito Park to sponsor the first of their Little Free Libraries.”

“Being able to read changes lives for children. Delta Dental’s donation of the Little Free Library and so many books will impact children for years to come,” says Adams. “We are proud to partner to make this library happen as well as working with the Delta Dental of Foundation on a wealth of other programming for Arizona’s youth.”

In addition to this recent partnership to make the Little Free Library a reality, Delta Dental of Arizona – through its Foundation – has supported Southwest Human Development’s Oral Health Program for Children and Families program for several years, including a recent $20,000 community grant, which also included additional funds for necessary supportive supplies.

“The program provides instruction on the importance of daily and lifelong oral health care, preventive screenings, and the importance of having a dental home. Through it, Southwest Human Development also partners with dental professionals to bring screenings/varnish treatments to schools and community events to accompany the educational component whenever possible,” says Adams.

This dedication, which also included Delta Dental team members working together to paint and decorate the library in vivid colors and with child-friendly oral health illustrations, capped what has been a year of giving back to celebrate Delta Dental’s 50th anniversary. Other activities over the past year include a surprise $5,000 donation to A New Leaf to support its Healthy Smiles for Life program, which provides dental hygiene education and supplies for preschool to high school age children from low-income and un/underinsured households; volunteer efforts with both St. Vincent de Paul and Arizona Mission of Mercy; a partnership with Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH) to release a free “Mouth-Health Cookbook” in both English and Spanish; and a partnership with Arizona PBS on an educational outreach program to promote good oral health to children in rural communities across the state.