Operation Healthy Family (OHF) serves people experiencing poverty, with an emphasis on people of color and immigrants, in Spokane, WA. OHF is a grassroots cross-racial group of people, founded by a biracial couple, (Executive Director) Tommy Williams and (Director of Oral Health Outreach) Paula Williams, who have deep relationships in Spokanes African-American community and the South Perry neighborhood. South Perry developed into a hub of the Black community in the early-to-mid-20th century as it was one of a few neighborhoods where African-American families were not shut out from housing due to racist covenants.

Our Dream

Our dream for the future is for Spokane to become an inclusive, diverse city. Right now Spokane has diversity, but we don’t have inclusivity. Inclusivity for us, in alignment with our mission, would include eliminating all barriers to good oral health, youth job training, and healthy opportunities to play sports caused by economic and racial privilege. We also dream of the day when organizations like OHF get a piece of Spokanes funding pie to carry out our mission. We are well known and trusted in our community and are effectively carrying out essential services, but since we launched in 2011, we have experienced a funding bottleneck. To be selected for funding, competitive philanthropy often requires that organizations have funding. To get money, you must have money; but you cannot have money without getting it a true chicken-or-egg scenario.

In the recent months, the US has experienced and finally realized the racist inequities that has plagued our country for over 400 years. Spokane was not exempt from this national outrage and was just as guilty of allowing systemic systems of racism that existed for far too long. OHF is ready to be a part of change in our community that will impact the generations to come.

OHFs work focuses on creating an equitable chance for those who do not have the opportunities that accompany economic and social privilege. We focus our energies on oral health and youth sports along with youth employability development to make inroads toward equity. Since 2011, OHF nurtured and developed community partnerships with local school districts, faith communities and businesses to help implement the following programs:

Dental Access Partnership (DAP) increases access to affordable, high-quality restorative dental care in a dignified setting for those who lack access to treatment. The DAP Program model integrates OHFs dental care team (Restorative Hygienists, Expanded Function Dental Auxiliaries, and Dental Assistants) with private dental practices who are motivated to help the vulnerable in our community.

Brush For the Future improves oral health among 1,200 elementary school children in Spokanes poorest neighborhoods through prevention and early intervention. Working in concert with teachers, administrators, and school nurses, we train students attending Title 1 schools to teach their peers healthy brushing habits. Students in grades K-6 in participating classes brush their teeth in their classrooms every day during the school year.

The Good News Dental Clinic will launch in 2020 and provide dental treatment in a non-motorized mobile clinic through a Mobile Hygiene Dental Unit (MDU) that doesnt require plumbing. With the flexibility of MDU equipment, the GND Clinic can operate as a pop-up dental clinic if adequate secured space is available and provided by community partners and sponsors. We feel this innovative model will provide needed access to oral health care (dental homes) to marginalized families living without access to dental care.

Ballers Youth Sports Club (BYSC) closes the opportunity gap for over 100 low-income kids and kids of color each year by creating free access to high-quality basketball skills training and affordable league play. The playing field is not level for kids of color in Spokane who want to play a sport at a high competitive level. Due to poverty and social inequities we serve families who are struggling and cant afford to have their kids in High-level league play which can costs thousands of dollars each year. Studies show that basketball prevents childhood obesity and addresses health disparities in the youth we serve. At the same time, we incorporate Restorative Justice in practice and game play to build a sense of belonging crucial to kids resilience and sense of identity. Restorative practices proactively build relationships and address rule-breaking as relational damage that needs to be repaired. Restorative practices have been shown to narrow racial disparities gaps, increase graduation rates, and reduce youth violence in national studies.

South Perry Learning Center, a free after school program at the Emmanuel Family Life Center adjacent to Richard Allen Apartments HUD affordable housing. The program is open Monday-Friday from 3-5 and students receive a dinner/snack through the USDA program by the YMCA. We have over 25 youth attend daily with age range 8-16.

OHF Summer Youth Job Training started in May 2020 and is a lawn care service program designed to employ youth ages 14-18 and teach on the job training employability skills. Youth Interns will be by cutting lawns and providing the best service to our disabled and elderly community who are the most vulnerable population. OHF received a donated 8ft trailer and lawnmower. However, we need funding to help support our site coordinator and purchase equipment. To Donate, Click Here.

Please put the attached listing on our Board of Directors page.

Thank you!