Changing Lives Through the Gift of a Smile

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Tehya's family knew she needed braces but couldn't afford them. Then they heard about the Erie Smile for a Lifetime Chapter at Utley & Iszkula Orthodontics that awards orthodontic scholarships (free braces) to underserved children.

Tehya Thorpe

"Tehya is such a sweet girl and was really excited to get her braces on. Because of her severe overjet, this S4L orthodontic scholarship will make her self-esteem go through the roof! " - Linda Hagge Orthodontic Assistant Utley & Iszkula Orthodontics

When Tehya's family heard about Smile for a Lifetime they were excited about the possibility of their daughter receiving free braces but when she was chosen by the board of directors to receive a scholarship they were overjoyed.

The Erie Chapter of Smile for a Lifetime (S4L) is celebrating their third year of helping children achieve the beautiful smiles they deserve. So far, they have served 15 children and by the end of 2013, they will have three more children in treatment including Tehya.

Smile for a Lifetime (S4L) is a national organization that serves some 1,200 children a year in various locations across North America. Dr. Iszkula joined S4L in 2010 to help underserved children in the Erie area. Tehya, Zak Mangold and Katie Swanson all received scholarships after this last round of screening.

Tehya's parents, Corinne & Allan Thorpe, share, "We have found Smile for a Lifetime to be a very aptly named organization. We have watched Tehya develop into a self-conscious girl who rarely smiles outside the home. Inside the home, however, she is a funny girl with a sparkling wit, who constantly makes us laugh with her antics and her huge smile. Even though we are in the early days of her treatment plan, we are already noticing signs of that lovely smile beginning to be shared with others outside the home. Thank you Smile for a Lifetime."

With three new scholars starting treatment, Sarah Carner is the first of the local chapter's scholars that has completed their treatment. Sarah is sixteen years old and shares the following about her S4L experience, "I didn't realize how valuable of a gift I was receiving until I got my braces off... my smile is more important now as a teenager than it was before I got my braces on." Sarah was the first scholar to have her braces removed to see her winning smile since the inception of their chapter.

Those children in the community who are unable to afford braces can apply for an S4L scholarship by clicking here. The process is competitive. All scholarships are awarded by the local S4L board of directors and approved by the doctors.

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Michelle Von Fange
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