The Blue Ribbon Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to Blue Mountain Health System Inc., for its Healthy Smiles, Happy Kids Mobile Dental Van. With this grant, the program will be able to purchase the supplies necessary to provide free dental services and oral hygiene education to 225 un/underinsured children through on-site visits to Carbon County schools.

In all seven grants were approved at the Nov. 12 meeting of The Foundation's board of directors, providing $61,654 in funding to regional nonprofit programs that will serve more than 1,550 people.

The Foundation awarded the grants to health education and prevention programs in thirteen counties across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. Each project met criteria under one of three grant categories: Health and Wellness Mini-Grants, Health and Wellness Impact Grants and Access to Care Grants for the Un/Underinsured.

Pennsylvania Elks Major Projects Inc. received Foundation funding of $9,996 to support its Home Service and Medical Care Coordination Program across 13 counties. Through this grant, nurses will visit the homes of 200 children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities to provide health education and medical care coordination services.

In Monroe County, the East Stroudsburg University Center for Research and Economic Development received a Foundation grant of $6,731. The funding will enable the University's Speech and Hearing Center to conduct speech, language and hearing screenings for 276 preschool children and their siblings at six Head Start Centers and the Annual Head Start Health Fair across the county.

Also in Monroe County, the Pocono Family YMCA will use a grant of $10,300 to expand its C.A.T.C.H. (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) program to include 240 additional physically and/or financially at-risk children. The children, ranging in age from preschool to eighth grade, will engage in structured physical activity and nutrition education classes weekly.