Message from the Director
Updated: Jan 23, 2020
2020 is promising to be a busy year for A Smile for Kids. We are seeing an uptick in applications for the ASK program from health care professionals, school counselors, therapists, coaches and many other professionals who are in contact with kids between the ages of 11 and 17 - kids who need A Smile for Kids funding for orthodontic services.
With all that extra attention to our program, we are also expanding our creativity to look for funding in places where we might not have looked before. This is critical in order for us to prevent waiting lists from happening – we never want a kid on a waiting list in the ASK program as time is critical in order to get the kids on-board with the GPA and volunteer hour requirement.
ASK does not subscribe to the adage of “fixing” bullying by “fixing” the victim. We look to remove some very inhibiting barriers to social interactions and that’s when the really good stuff begins to happen. By staying connected with the child through the entire process, sometimes over 3 years, we show them that there are adults in the world who will not disappear; people who believe that they are powerful and together with other adults in their lives, A Smile for Kids helps them persevere in spite of the hand they might have been dealt in life.
A Smile for Kids (ASK) provides funding for orthodontic services to under-resourced kids who are especially prone to suffer from severe self-esteem challenges and bullying by their peers. By staying in school achieving at least a "C" grade level average before treatment can begin, ASK kids graduate at a rate of 94%, where they might otherwise have been challenged to graduate before. They also volunteer at least 4 hours per month (some volunteer 8 hours) to a local service organization during their treatment, and this gives ASK kids exposure to others who need help, career possibilities and instills a sense of "I can do" attitude. That's a lot of personal work to manage for most teenagers, but especially difficult if the kid is in a foster family or homeless situation.
All the work is worth it though, when we reach graduation or when we hear that their newfound resilience helped them stand up for someone else who was bullied it feels amazing to know that we had a small part in creating an "Upstander", especially because we know how hard that kid worked to get there.
Thank you for showing interest in A Smile for Kids - we can't do it without people like you.