We received an outpour of nominations and countless amazing stories from parents, family members, and dental community. Four deserving Metro Atlanta children were selected to receive complimentary orthodontic care from GSO Orthodontics. Meet our 2022 winners below.
In keeping with its promise to provide $100,000 in complimentary care to deserving children who need braces but otherwise could not afford it, GSO has selected four children in the Greater Atlanta area to receive FREE braces through the Gift of a Smile Program. Since inception, the Program has provided 21 Atlanta metro area children with healthy, confident smiles.
Lovin Elementary School
Pickneyville Middle School
Pickneyville Middle School
Solomon M. Morrow
With asthma, Solomon uses a breathing machine with medications that have worn down his teeth. He has had and still needs some expensive dental work, which has proven financially challenging for his aunt and caregiver.
De’ja and her family moved from Baltimore about two years ago, but the orthodontic care she received there was not transferable to Georgia. She is heading to high school next year and, as such, completing her orthodontic treatment will no doubt give her a boost of confidence.
As she expressed in a recent poem, “Just because my teeth are crooked, doesn’t make me less beautiful. It makes my smile unique. Beauty doesn’t have to be perfect.” While she is coping well with her situation, Nicoli’s self-confidence will get a boost from the orthodontic work and give her the smile she deserves.
There are many times My’Teiz has been embarrassed to smile because his teeth are shifting to the left. The orthodontic work he needs was ruled out as too costly for his family. This free service will boost his confidence and give him the beautiful smile he deserves.
An honor roll student, this fourth grader is an avid writer, school chorus singer and Peer Leader. After a recent and sudden loss of Jennifer’s close family member, the family has sought counseling and free grief support camp opportunities for her. Jennifer’s parents are also financially challenged. The guidance counselor who nominated her said she is a remarkable girl and very deserving of this gift.
At 12 years old, Jordan is a great student who gets good grades, is a basketball star and has been Student of the Month. He has overcrowded and crooked teeth but manages to keep smiling every day. He has asked for braces and has had several orthodontic appointments, but his family has been unable to afford them. He and his family are grateful for this gift.
Thirteen-year-old Madeline is too self-conscious to smile for the camera. She also experienced recent family issues, including a family member who moved into the household after a medical emergency. Yet, she has maintained a sense of humor and enjoys helping others. Her parents are excited that GSO is giving her a winning smile to match her cheerful personality.
Free braces will soon also help Damian Soler, 13. Soler lives in Decatur, but comes from Gwinnett. His teeth prevent him from being able to close his mouth while he sleeps. As a result, he suffers from constant sore throats. Soon, he’ll be able to sleep peacefully.
Savien Cox, a fifth-grader from Lawrenceville, will also be able to fix his orthodontic problems thanks to GSO. Cox is a happy kid who loves to smile, but suffers from low-self esteem over his teeth. Soon, braces will help him overcome those insecurities.
Dacula resident Sierra Henson, 14, was one of the children selected to receive free orthodontic care, which will include appliances, braces, retainers and more at no cost. Henson is a straight A student enrolled in AP and gifted classes. Because of a family member’s expensive medical costs, it seemed like Henson wouldn’t be able to receive orthodontic care.
Eight year old Gift of a Smile winner Roman Lara attends the Michelle and Barack Obama Academy in Atlanta. His favorite subject is math and his favorite color is blue. Roman enjoys playing soccer, learning tennis, and anything that has to do with art. He also enjoys playing with his adopted dog Savannah.
Eleven year old Camilo Benitez resides in Alpharetta Georgia. His mother Angela nominated him for the gift of a Smile program and was elated to find out that her son had won the contest to receive complimentary orthodontic care.
Eleven year old Pjaye Phinisee of Atlanta, Georgia was one of four lucky children selected to win complimentary orthodontic treatment through the Gift of a Smile program. She was nominated by her mother Della who submitted a heartwarming and touching story about her daughter and the love, care, and support she shows her daily. We are honored to award Pjaye with a beautiful, healthy smile.
Sixteen year old Lawrelle of College Park, Georgia attends the Tri-Cities High School of East Point. Her favorite subject is Physics and her favorite color is Navy blue. Lawrelle enjoys making jewelry and styling hair. She was nominated by several family members and friends and we were touched by every story that was submitted about Lawrelle.
Lia is a sweet 11-year-old girl who suffers from bullying and self-esteem issues because of her teeth. She has asked for braces several times, but her family has had to put off orthodontic treatment for financial reasons. Gift of a Smile wants to make her wish for braces come true and help Lia see how beautiful she is!
Dana De La Parra
Dana is a kind-hearted 12-year-old girl who began experiencing crowding when her permanent teeth came in. Despite being teased over her teeth, she never let others take her smile away. Gift of a Smile is excited to give her a smile as bright and beautiful as her heart!
Eli is a bright 14-year-old with a great sense of humor who loves to make others smile. However, because of his insecurities over his teeth, he often hides his own smile. Financial strain for Eli’s family made it seem like orthodontic treatment was not an option, but thanks to Gift of A Smile, soon he’ll be able to laugh with confidence!
Deona is a thoughtful and caring 8th grader with a heart of gold and a personality to match. Each day Deona makes it a point to give out at least five compliments to people young and old. She was nominated by her mother, Christina, who submitted a heartwarming story about the love and support her daughter shows daily. Deona has always wanted straight teeth and we are excited to provide her with a healthy, confident smile.
Mackenzie attends Coleman Middle School in Duluth and loves art, soccer and reading – her favorite author is Stephen King. Sweet, intelligent, and thoughtful, Mackenzie puts everyone’s needs above her own. Despite recent health challenges facing her brother, she has not missed a beat and continues to do well in school and her other activities - all while being the best sister and daughter.
Ezra is a shy, polite kid who attends Couch Middle School in Lawrenceville. Despite battling liver disease, he is positive and brings joy to everyone that knows him. He loves playing basketball, drawing, and programming video games. His dental team nominated Ezra for this life changing experience so that his smile would match his spirit. We are excited to bring a little joy to Ezra with the gift of a new smile!
Raphael is a rising freshman at Wheeler Magnet (STEAM) program and a member of the National Jr Honor Society. He volunteers at his church and several local charities, including Simple Needs, the organization who submitted his deserving story. He’s a gifted musician (plays many instruments) and a member of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra. His mom, now disabled, said receiving this gift would be a BIG dream come true!
In 2019, GSO partnered with six local schools to nominate deserving children for the Gift of a Smile Program. The schools that submitted the most nominations were selected to receive $500 in school supplies. These schools were:
Creekland Middle School, Lawrenceville
Duluth Middle School, Duluth
McConnell Middle School, Loganville
Woodland Elementary School, Sandy Springs
Lake Forest Elementary School, Sandy Springs
High Point Elementary School, Sandy Springs