Don’t throw away those baggies of dental hygiene products! Thanks to one enterprising UTC student, the toothbrushes and toothpaste typically given out at the end of dental appointments can soon be donated to people who need them.

When UTC student Chris Morrison first heard about the Creating the Winds of Change contest, he was unsure how he could make a difference in the Chattanooga community. But he thought of how one small item, a toothbrush, could make a serious impact in someone’s life.

“People who have taken mission trips around the world have told me that there a widespread need for improved dental hygiene, I did a little research and found out how widespread the problem is, even in the Chattanooga area,” Morrison said.

His research prompted him to create Scenic City Smiles, an initiative that will partner with area dentists’ offices to collect unused dental hygiene products to redistribute at local organizations and community health centers. Rather than sending every patient home with something they won’t use, dentists will ask if the patient would instead like to donate his or her kit to the initiative.

“To many people, a toothbrush is just a few dollars. But to people who can’t afford or don’t have access to dental care, it’s priceless,” he said.

“There are an abundance of dental supplies that aren’t being used. Scenic City Smiles will get those items to the people who need them. Just donate the toothbrush. Scenic City Smiles will do the rest,” Morrison said.

As part of the programming around the First Year Reading Experience at UTC, the CEO Club held a Social Entrepreneurship contest. In honor of the accomplishments of William Kamkwamba, author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the club asked students submit ideas for changing the local community. For winning the contest, Morrison received $500 from Chattanooga Stand and The Company Lab, a free courier bag from Keen provided by Rock Creek Outfitters, a membership to UTC CEO Club.

For more information about the CEO Club, visit their website here.

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