Business Spotlight: CACS Head Start

For nearly 50 years, Lansing’s Capital Area Community Services has been providing opportunities to children and families in need to help them reach their fullest potential. As said in the CACS Head Start mission statement, CACS is dedicated to creating a comprehensive, culturally sensitive, nurturing, safe and healthy learning environment.
CACS provides opportunity to over 1,500 children through the Head Start and Early Childhood programs with a $12 million budget from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but also through community awareness and fundraising. One of these events is Miles for Smiles, a 5K walk that invites the community to raise money through participation and donation for the dental care of families in need. Since 2006, Miles for Smiles has been raising thousands of dollars so that local families may have basic dental care and are not forced to go to the emergency room during a dental crisis.

The process involved for families dealing with a dental emergency starts by submitting a request form to CACS and then based on a list of criteria, they may be chosen. Criteria includes pain, swelling, fever, pregnancy or pain that interferes with work.  

Brenda Martinez, Head Start Oral Health Coordinator, said that most of the time she only gets requests from CACS families, however if a community member calls with an emergency, she finds help for them. 

“It is so amazing how our community pulls together to help people out in a time of need,” said Martinez. 

If a family is chosen to receive dental aid, they are asked to contribute to the cost, even if it’s $10. Martinez said this gives the family a vested interest in showing up for the appointment that CACS has been able to arrange for them. 

Martinez said she always tells the families that receive the help about the Miles for Smiles 5K. 

“It’s kind of like a ‘pay it forward’,” said Martinez. “…so if they would like to walk and raise money for parents next year, they are able to do so.” 

Each year Miles for Smiles has become bigger and better and this year will be no different. CACS is hoping to raise up to $18,000 from participation, sponsors and donors.
This year’s Miles for Smiles will be on May 17. The 3.1 mile walk will take place around the paved paths of Granger Meadow Park with festivities, refreshments, entertainment and prizes. Rest stations will also be located in various spots along the walk.
How you can get involved?
Sign up to walk the 5K or donate to the cause! You can even start your own pledge form to get your friends and family involved.
To learn more, register, sponsor or donate at or register & ‘like’ CACS on their Facebook page 

For additional information & questions please call
Brenda Martinez, Head Start Oral Health Coordinator at 
517-482-1504 ext. 132