It was especially rare to see Dante smile prior to getting her braces off. Besides being raised by a single dad and the whole family having challenging times, Dante felt very insecure about her teeth and would always hide her smile by turning her head or keeping her mouth closed. Even in the face of that, Dante has excelled in High School and did an excellent job volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club. It's hard to imagine the pain when you see how contagious her smile is and the joy it projects to the world.
Dante made a profound remark after she had her braces taken off and we asked her about her experience: "I am learning to smile again. I still hold back when someone says that I have a beautiful smile because I can't believe that they are talking about me."
This is the kind of stuff that happens to so many kids in the ASK program. They have grown used to hiding their smiles and when it changes, their mind has a difficult time catching up with the physical changes.
Dante, we are so happy that you are stronger and more resilient and we hope you will use your newfound confidence to stand up for others who suffer as you did.