The Georgia School of Orthodontics announced the three winners of our Gift of a Smile contest at the Ground Breaking Ceremony on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, for our second, state-of-the-art facility in Gwinnett. This is the second time GSO has gifted complimentary braces to deserving children and is part of our pledge to donate $100,000 in orthodontic care over three years to children who could benefit from braces but cannot get them due to financial limitations.
The first Gift of a Smile winners were announced at the grand opening of our Atlanta location in June 2016. We are thrilled to report that all three children have their braces and are looking forward to debuting their new smiles after completing their orthodontic treatment.
This year’s contest submissions were heartfelt and after thoughtful consideration, we chose three children whose stories touched, humbled, and inspired us. See the winners and read their stories below. (Note that some submission have been edited for length and clarity.)
“Savien is a bright 5th grader at Winn Holt Elementary in Lawrenceville, GA, whose smile and personality can light up a room. He is instantly loved by everyone he comes in contact with. Besides his warm, loving, and hilarious personality, one of Savien’s strengths is being able to convincingly smile through distress. He is teased a lot at school because his huge smile shows a mouth full of imperfect teeth. With the constant teasing came a sadness that lead Savien to gain 25 lbs. in less than one year. Now the kids have something else to tease him about, but Savien keeps smiling and keeps trying to make others smile.
Although this beautiful little boy has many obstacles and challenges, the one thing that has been insistent is his request for braces. He desires to have braces so much to fix his ‘crooked’ smile. I want to give him this happiness, I know it would improve his self-esteem greatly. I looked far and wide for the most affordable option, enter GSO, a God-send. We are so grateful for you all, so either way, thank you so much for giving us this opportunity.”
Submission by Clairrisa Cox.
“Sierra is a straight A student at Dacula High School taking all AP and gifted classes. She also plays travel softball for a team that is ranked 3rd in the nation. She is one of five siblings and is a great role model.” Due to a family member’s medical condition causing financial strain, “Sierra took it upon herself to apply for several jobs after getting her work permit. We feel like she’s putting too much on her shoulders, and we don’t want her grades to suffer because she is doing so much. However, we are very proud of the outstanding and selfless child she is and truly feel like she is deserving of this.”
Submission by Reena Henson.
Damian was nominated by several members of his family as well as his general dentist. Each entry was a testament to how highly regarded Damian is by those around him. Some original entries are below.
“He’s a great kid! He loves to laugh but he’s concerned about his teeth. Even at night he struggles with his breathing because he can’t close his mouth, and that gives him sore throat constantly.”
“Damian is a very kind and gentle boy. He knows sign language and helps others to learn, too. He is an obedient and helpful son. He deserves to have a healthy and straight smile.”
“Damian’s mother is very supportive, motivated, and reliable in obtaining her child’s oral healthcare needs. The Soler family are active in their Church and Hispanic community. Damian is from a very grateful, deserving family. He understands the value of patient compliance to achieve the desired results. The choice of Damian Soler for complimentary Orthodontic care would be a dream come true for this family.”
Submissions by Olibama Soler, Angel Soler, Claribel Pinero, and Randal Rowan, DDS.
We would like to thank all the nominees and the caring individuals who submitted their stories for consideration. We look forward to continuing the Gift of a Smile tradition in the future and fulfilling our pledge to give back to the community.