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TEXARKANA, Ark. — Arkansas Children's officials made a stop in town Tuesday to announce a $1.25 million gift from the Yates Foundation to the hospital's Campaign for a Healthier Tomorrow.

The gift will increase access to dental care for 17,000 children in Southwest Arkansas. Since 2009, the Dental Outreach program has provided 12,500 dental exams through four mobile dental clinics, screened 31,400 children and provided fluoride applications and 73,000 dental sealants.

"Thanks to the support of the Yates and Hubbard family, children who have not had dental services in the Southern and Southwest corner of the state will have access to dental sealant services and preventative oral health care," said Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children's. "This historic gift helps us deliver on the promise of a healthier tomorrow for the children in Arkansas."

The Yates and Hubbard family made the leadership gift in honor of the late Jim Yates, patriarch of the Yates family and co-founder of E-Z Mart stores along with his wife FaEllen Yates.

The gift was made by FaEllen Yates and the Yates Foundation which includes her daughters Stacy Yates and Sonja Yates Hubbard, Sonja's husband Bob and grandchildren Kenzie Floyd, Yates Floyd and Lauren Hubbard.

"The Yates and Hubbard family has always been focused on helping others. Our family business was built on that principle," Sonja Yates Hubbard said in a news release. "To invest in child health in the Southern region of Arkansas is an honor for our family to uphold. My father would be proud to know that we are continuing the family legacy of supporting the community."

Arkansas Children's has set a goal of raising $250 million dollars for the Campaign for a Healthier Tomorrow and has secured more than $200 million in gifts toward that goal.

"It is really wonderful to be here in Texarkana," Doderer said to the attendees of a luncheon at the Texarkana Country Club. "At Arkansas Children's our mission is to champion children and to make them better today for a healthier tomorrow. "Arkansas ranks 40th out of 50 states in children's health and well-being. In many cases, your zip code matters more than your genetic code to the health of a child. You join me in agreeing where we are isn't right."

Through the Campaign for a Healthier Tomorrow Arkansas Children's has started many programs to improve the health of children in the state including establishing the David M. Clark Center for Safe and Healthy Children in 2016, opening the Arkansas Children's Hospital Southwest Little Rock Clinic, opening the Arkansas Children's Northwest center in Springdale, Arkansas, in 2018 and establishing a nursery alliance with several hospitals in the state to mention a few accomplishments.

"Our progress is clear. This isn't about someone else's child. It's about our families, our children, our neighbors, our friends. It's about our state. It's about the future of Arkansas. We often feel true compassion for the plight of a sick or injured child. We empathize with families sitting by hospital beds who are desperately hoping and praying their child will recover and for the health and safety of their individual child," Doderer said.

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