Maintaining and sustaining a successful in-school oral health program could be compared to building a home, raising a child, tending a garden or pursuing an education.
The bottom line is that there’s always room for improvement, expansion and adding creative touches. And all this must be undertaken while adapting to changing faces, environments, budgets and needs.
To maintain, sustain and even expand your program, you should always be looking at where you were when you started, where you are now (and how you got there) and where you want to be down the road. Essentially, you revisit each section of the Smart Mouths Smart Kids Toolkit to tweak your program by:
- Evaluating your progress
- Generating new ideas to adapt to new circumstances or expand services
- Reinvigorating stakeholder engagement
- Identifying new needs
- Reviewing your business plan and current data to see if your program is moving any needles.
- Sharing your successes with stakeholders and community members
- Setting new goals
- Refining your budget
Each of these activities will help you keep your program current, fresh and responsive to the creative input of your team and to the ever-evolving needs in your community.
Maintaining, sustaining and expanding can be very challenging. It’s critical that you continue to expand your partner network and that you pay close attention to challenges and opportunities that are bound to come up as your program matures. Calculated risk-taking is part of successfully navigating your implementation. Having a strong partner/stakeholder network allows you to engage others in the creative work of moving forward.