As part of The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania's Access to Health Care for the Uninsured and Underinsured Grant Program, Carbon County Partners for Progress recently received a $10,000 grant to expand its Healthy Smiles, Happy Kids Mobile Dental Van Program.

The program is a collaborative effort between Partners for Progress, Blue Mountain Health System and all Carbon County school districts to provide dental services and hygiene education to un/underinsured youngsters throughout the county. The Blue Ribbon grant will help the program serve an additional 200 children in the coming year.

"Proper oral health care starts at an early age and is vital to staying healthy," said Dr. Jason Kishel, dentist, Healthy Smiles, Happy Kids mobile dental van. "We thank The Blue Ribbon Foundation for their generous support of our efforts to provide higher quality, cost effective dental care for our patients."

"For many uninsured children in Carbon County, the mobile dental van is their only option when it comes to dental care," said Cynthia Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation. "Our Foundation's commitment to healthy children is a significant focus of our work."

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to approximately 600,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company's mission is to provide innovative solutions that support more affordable health care, promote personal accountability for health and wellness, and offer superior service and partnership to employers, members, and providers.

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.