Sixty-one schools in Michigan will soon receive new water fountains and bottle filling stations thanks to $200,000 from the Delta Dental Foundation (DDF) and the Michigan Education Special Services Association (MESSA). In all, 95 water fountains and bottle filling stations will be installed. The schools are the winners of the MESSA and DDF “Rethink Your Drink: Water’s Cool at School” program, designed to encourage children to drink more water during the school day.
“Drinking water throughout the school day is key to staying focused and energized,” said Teri Battaglieri, director of the Delta Dental Foundation. “Not only are sugar-sweetened beverages like pop and juice drinks bad for your teeth, they can contribute to other health issues such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. We want more students to have access to drinking water during the day so they can keep their teeth and bodies strong and healthy.”
“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,” said MESSA executive director Ross Wilson.
Balfrey & Johnson will replace old drinking fountains with Elkay water fountain and bottle filling stations at the winning schools. The winners also will receive reusable water bottles for their students and staff. More than 600 schools applied to the program. Winners were selected based on several criteria, including the age and condition of their current drinking fountains, the creativity of their applications, the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and geographic location.
The Water’s Cool at School program was piloted at Okemos Public Montesori at Central in September 2016. Within the first month, students increased their water consumption and saved more than 2,200 empty water bottles from going into a landfill.