Thirteen-year-old Eby Davis-Calvo is getting braces, and she couldn’t be happier.
Speaking as the mother of three, I can only marvel at how unusual this is. My children wore braces to avert all manner of calamities in their mouths, but I can’t say any of them smiled like Eby in the orthodontist’s chair.
At the time, I wasn’t smiling either.
Braces were just one more pothole that jolted my economic chassis. The orthodontist spoke of “phases” the way a land developer would point toward an empty hilltop. We had extended payment plans stretching far into the horizon.
Orthodontia is one of those things parents want to do for our children, but it straddles the boundary between luxury and necessity. Braces straighten your teeth and align your bite, but they also straighten the posture of your self-esteem.
A new nonprofit in Orange County, Smile for a Lifetime, recognizes the value of both.
Eby applied for and is receiving an orthodontic scholarship for her teeth. No wonder her mother is also smiling.
Marlo Klein, president of the Smile for a Lifetime chapter in Orange County, never wore braces – but she is emphatic about their importance.
“Braces are life-changing.”
Luxury or necessity, I ask? After all, many people today are unable to afford the home they used to live in.
Both, she answers.
“Braces are a luxury for a lot of people … It’s the last thing they think about and the first thing to go.”
Braces create a beautiful smile, Klein explains, which leads to self-confidence and that self-confidence can change your life.
It’s like buying a time-share. You pay for a vacation, but you’re hoping the purchase will include great memories.
This local chapter of the national organization helps four to six children per year. The scholarship worth about $6,000 includes the initial X-rays, braces and all the doctor visits.
Klein mentions the boy who received braces and began speaking up in class and earning better grades.
“Braces can change your outlook.”
Turns out Ormco Corp., based in Orange for 50 years, makes many braces possible. It designs and manufactures the brackets and wires, those little pieces that come together in a mouth.
In Eby’s case the braces are assembled on models in a tray, waiting to be bonded to her teeth.
Ormco became national sponsor of Smile for a Lifetime in 2010 and donates its products to orthodontists in the program. In fact, Eby can see her future smile because Ormco’s Insignia software offers a 3-D digital view of her teeth before and as they rotate into position after. Who knew?
When Ormco realized there was no chapter in Orange County, it helped start one. Today there are 105 national chapters, and the organization is starting another in the San Clemente area.
They are seeking children to help and orthodontists to help them.
Robert Gire, of Gire Orthodontics in La Habra, is donating his time to treat Eby until her braces come off in a year or two.
He has committed to treat one patient per quarter for Smile for a Lifetime.
“We know there is a definite need,” says Gire, who also serves on the advisory board for Friends of Family Health Center in La Habra.
“Nobody has ever died from crooked teeth … but your smile is the first thing people notice.”
As a child, Gire needed braces but his parents couldn’t afford them. He got them himself while he was a student at USC School of Dentistry.
“Some of these kids, we can’t get them to smile and show their teeth … At the end, we can’t get them to stop smiling.”
It’s interesting to note that while his practice was 80 percent children when he started five years ago, today they are only 60 percent. Braces aren’t just for adolescents any more.
Eby, a seventh-grader from Anaheim, has set her sights on a career in musical theater. This fan of “Wicked” knows braces will only help.
“I want to stand on stage with a beautiful, straight smile.”
Her mother, Sheryl Calvo, is a single mother of two who would love braces for herself, but can’t afford them.
“I don’t smile with my teeth.”
As mothers do, she wants to take care of her children first.
“Eby looks forward to a career. I’ve lived 30 years with my teeth like this … I wouldn’t be able to do this any other way.”
In order to win her scholarship, Eby gathered letters of recommendation and answered essay questions. The Smile for a Lifetime board reviews applications once a quarter.
Eby explained what braces would mean to her:
“I would love to have straight teeth so I am not embarrassed by my smile … If I had braces … I would smile forever – even in my sleep.”
Applicants with financial need must be 11 to 18 years old, with all of their permanent teeth, and demonstrate good dental hygiene.
A big concern is whether a patient would cooperate, or be compliant, with the treatment.
“Compliance is always an issue,” admits Gire, who knows that some children simply won’t eat the right foods, brush their teeth or wear their retainer.
“Some of them, though, really want the braces. They’re willing to make a commitment.”
It’s ironic that what means so little to some can be so important to others.
For information on Smile for a Lifetime visit: www.ocs4l.org.
Contact the writer at 949 645 1872
The Vinson Orthodontics Scholarship program awards an annual non-renewable $500 scholarship. Applicants must be current patients or have completed orthodontic treatment at Vinson Orthodontics. Applications will be accepted from present or previous patients planning to attend or attending an institution of higher learning for at least one year. If you are eligible and interested, please email us at email@example.com to request information and an application.
Application Deadline: June 20, 2018
Congratulations to our 2017 Vinson Orthodontics $500 Scholarship Winner: Cassie Knittel!
Cassie graduated from Clayton High School in 2017. Throughout her high school career, she was active in her school and community. At Clayton High, she served as secretary of HOSA and as a Key Club member. She received numerous awards and honors such as Outstanding Senior, NC Scholar, National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. Her extensive community involvement included volunteer work at the Brian Center, Food Aid International, Red Barn Rescue and Hurricane Matthew Relief. In 2016, Cassie had the opportunity to intern for the Pat McCrory Campaign Committee gaining valuable experience in the political arena. She has also enjoyed the opportunity to participate in local mission trips throughout her high school career. Cassie has also received scholarships from Johnston Health and the Four Oaks Bank Rotary Club. She will attend East Carolina University in the fall.
“What is the Impact of Social Media in your Life?”
by Cassie Knittel
Just the other day I traveled to Ireland. It was greener than you could ever imagine. I wound through twisting country roads lined with bright yellow fields of canola and gazed 800 feet down the Cliffs of Moher to the Atlantic Ocean. I walked the streets of Dublin in the gray evening drizzle, contrasted with the bright green, white, and orange striped flags draping from the brick buildings, to the sounds of traditional Irish music filtering from the local pubs. Well, maybe I didn’t technically travel there. I, instead, was able to experience those things through the popular social media platform, Instagram. We are now capable of experiencing other cultures with just our fingertips. No matter whether you think of social media as a positive or negative influence, it is impossible to argue that it doesn’t have an impact on our everyday life.
Last December, I was scrolling through my friend’s photos from Christmas break on Facebook and intermingled was a news article about raging fires that took over parts of Tennessee. I started searching for more information and what I found through social media was tragic; the fires took 14 lives and destroyed over 2,400 buildings. Social media is a great way for millennials to learn about current events happening every day, as we are less likely to watch the news on TV or read the newspapers. I believe that social media increases community awareness and helps spread news at a much faster pace than for previous generations.
Retaining relationships with peers and staying connected is extremely important to me as a recent high school graduate. Social media has improved the connection between peers compared to generations in the past. One hindrance I believe previous generations have had was the inability to retain relationships made throughout their lives due to distance, inability to communicate over miles easily, and simply forgetting different peers. Social media has remedied this limitation and with social media we can now utilize relationships throughout our lives with easier to contact information. I have grown up hearing stories from my parents and grandparents of friends lost through time and others who they rarely see and basically forget who they are. I do not believe my future children will hear similar stories from me thanks to my utilization of social media to keep up with my friends.
I feel fortunate that social media has positively impacted my generation through the benefits that it entails. We, as a society, can acquire local and global news promptly by simply searching Google or through shared articles on social media websites. Former generations did not have the advantage that social media brings us today, permitting the tranquil way of keeping relations without associating in person. Social media can be looked at both positively and negatively. Regardless of the negative opinions, however, social media is, and will be, a defining characteristic in the history of my generation and those to come.
Congratulations to our 2016 Vinson Orthodontics $500 Scholarship Winner: Madison Gladwell!
Madison graduated from Corinth Holders High School in 2016. Throughout her high school career, she was active in her school and community. Her extracurricular activities have included Varsity Basketball and soccer. She has also received numerous honors and awards such as: academic all conference, principal’s list, Coach’s award, All Conference player, scholar graduate, high honors graduate and National Honor Society just to mention a few. She will attend Meredith College in the fall where she received a four year renewable Honors College Scholarship. Madison’s winning essay is included below.
“If I Had Three Wishes…What Would I Wish For and Why?”
By Madison Gladwell
As a child, one of my favorite games to play was the “Three Wishes” game. My friends and I would pick the top three things we wanted most. The answers to this question at that age consisted mostly of trips to Disneyland, becoming princesses, or, in my case, becoming a private detective like Nancy Drew. I’ve grown significantly since that time, and as I’ve grown, my wants and needs have changed- even though I still think Nancy Drew is awesome. My three wishes would be for more patience, a neighborhood park, and for everybody to always feel loved.
One of my biggest personal struggles is in patience. Ever since I was old enough to understand what patience was, I have known that I am not a patient person. I have always tried to set goals for myself, and I work hard to make sure I achieve them. I expect nothing less from myself than success quickly and efficiently, which has proven frustrating at times. I have slowly realized that the real world does not always offer ideal results, and certainly not as quickly as I have come to expect them. This unfavorable truth has exasperated me beyond belief more times than I can count, and so I would use one of my wishes to grant myself more patience.
My next wish would be for a neighborhood park. Since kindergarten, my favorite playground activity has been the swings. In this day and age, not a lot of children have the opportunity to do something as simple as swing on those swings, hang on monkey bars, or go on a slide outside of a short school recess. If every neighborhood had a park with a playground, kids would be able to easily play outside and interact with their friends in an inexpensive yet enjoyable setting. A connecting garden with flowers and trees could serve as a great place for parents or older siblings to hang out and read a book or do homework while supervising the younger children. This would also have a positive impact on the environment, as more trees and plants lead to cleaner air. I have a nine year old brother, and I know he would love to have a park nearby to visit. Because of him, and other kids like him, I would use a wish for a public park.
My final wish would be spent on making sure that everyone on this earth will always feel loved. Every day, one hears stories of those with depression- some with cases so extreme that they feel as though there is no way out except to end their life. My sophomore year of high school, a freshman made the decision to commit suicide, and the whole school was affected. I can’t imagine how her family must have felt, and I hope with all my heart that I never have to find out. I know that I have felt alone in the world at times- as if no one could possibly understand what I was feeling. Thankfully, I have been blessed with the most amazing family and friends. Whether they realized it or not, they have all pulled me out of my sadness more times than I care to admit. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I am. Some children grow up in abusive or neglectful homes, while others simply cannot feel happy or loved without medical help. Most of the evils in this world stem from feelings of inadequacy or retribution. If every person felt as though they were loved unconditionally, I know that almost all perceived wrongs would disappear. Such a simple wish would lead to a monumental change for the better.
Whether us humans are blowing out birthday candles, watching a shooting star, or just playing a game with our friends, we have always found something special to wish for. We are always searching for ways to better our lives and the lives of those around us. That is the beauty of the human race- we never stop hoping, searching, or wishing.
Congratulations to our 2015 Vinson Orthodontics $500 Scholarship Winner: Matthew Cherry!
Matthew graduated from West Johnston High School in 2015. His class rank was 6 out of 307. Throughout his high school career, Matthew has been involved in many activities and organizations within his school and the community such as Science Olympiad, JOCO teen drivers, SADD, NHS, Mathletes and Spirit Club. He has received many honors and recognition such as AP Scholar, National Honor Society and 1st place in state for Service Learning Project. Matthew will attend North Carolina State University in the fall. He is the recipient of several scholarships including: Chancellor’s Leadership Scholarship, Reece Cup Scholarship and the Lifelong Learning Scholarship.
A few months ago, I saw a lady at the grocery store. She had two shopping carts loaded with groceries. As I stood behind her in line, I heard her say that she did not have enough money to pay for all of her items. I looked up at the screen and realized she owed about eighteen dollars. Without asking, I pulled out a twenty dollar bill and handed it to the cashier. She was searching through her cart, looking for items she was going to put back so she could pay for everything. When she looked up and realized that someone had taken care of her bill, she began to tear up and a smile appeared on her face. She turned around and said “Thank you!” When I was finished getting my few items, I escorted her to the parking lot, pushing her second cart. She gave me a hug and told me that she was struggling with money since her husband had passed away a few months ago. I just smiled and hugged her back.
When I look back at this situation, I know that helping others is what I truly love. I never knew her life was hard and that she was in a tight spot, but I did know that she needed those groceries. That simple act of kindness put a smile on her face that I will never forget. In life, things are not always perfect and we may not have the best life, but we can still lend a hand to others in need. If you show love to others, someone will show you love when you need it the most. When you think about what you love, should it be money, guns, cars, or should it be helping others when you have life full of gifts and talents? Showing others what I love pays me back with a warm feeling in my heart and a beautiful smile on their face. That is why I love helping others when they are in need.
Congratulations to our 2014 Vinson Orthodontics $500 Scholarship Winner: Libby Dotson!!
Libby graduated from Cleveland High School as valedictorian and ranked 1 out of 271. Throughout her high school career, she was involved in many school and community organizations such as Boys of Girls Club of Selma, Teen Science Club, and the National Honors Society. She also received several awards and recognitions such as National AP Scholar. Libby was accepted and will attend Duke University in the fall.
I am a firm believer in confidence. Without a steady dosage of self confidence and self esteem it would be nearly impossible to traverse the edges of one’s comfort zone. You see to be self confident means that you have a steadier hand shake, better eye contact, and easier friendship formations. To be confident is to boost communication skills. To communicate is to open the door to tackle tasks that seem unattainable and to become what one has always dreamed of becoming. It started with my smile.
Without the communication skills that having confidence allows it is hard to have a fulfilled life and for me I have tried very hard to make the last four years of my life meaningful. To be human is to have meaningful relationships with other humans and to make a positive impact on their life. That is how we each thrive as individuals, by communicating and building relationships with one another. Without the confidence to communicate to build these relationships it would be impossible to live a life that is innately fulfilled, to live a life that builds a success.
But where does this confidence start? For me it started with a smile in seventh grade language arts class, in front of Mrs. Boyette in room 719. For me a successful high school career leading up to working with the Boys and Girls Club of Selma, being valedictorian, and being admitted to Duke all started with the confidence building tools of a new smile. With a smile alone you may not be able to completely conquer the world. However, for me I was able to have the tools to accomplish my dreams because of a smile. For me whenever I wake up and roll out of bed to go brush my teeth and look into the mirror I see my smile as a beginning. I see it as a means to a life that I am in love with. ”
Thank you Dr. Vinson for helping to make my dreams come true!
Congratulations to our 2013 Vinson Orthodontics $500 Scholarship Winner: Lindsey Kunz!!
“Choose an experience from your own life and explain how it has influenced who you are today.”
by Lindsey Kunz
” Dedication, perseverance, commitment; my passion for gymnastics has produced these qualities and many more. Since I was ten years old I have trained four hours a day, five days a week, every single week of the year. I have learned how to manage my time, make necessary sacrifices, and master the art of discipline. The experience of being a gymnast has not merely impacted my life; it has shaped it, and it is through the lens of this training that I have come to view life. Over the past seven years gymnastics has taught me that with hard work and dedication every goal is attainable, that with perseverance and commitment every obstacle can be overcome, and that it is never too late to have a new goal.
The first lesson gymnastics has taught me is that if you work hard and dedicate your time and effort, every goal can be achieved. My coach once told me that the difference between a dream and a goal is a plan. His words have permeated my mind and affected my decisions on a regular basis. Everyone has dreams, and anyone can wish, but the individuals who create a plan to succeed are the ones who set themselves apart and do great things. When I began gymnastics I made a commitment to myself to be the best gymnast I could be. That didn’t mean winning every competition or doing the hardest skills, but putting forth my best effort in everything I did. I learned how to win humbly and lose graciously, and I learned that self-motivation is the key to success. All of my hard work and dedication came to fruition this past summer when I was invited to participate in an international gymnastics exchange program in Singapore. I was able to travel half-way around the world, experience a completely new culture, and train with elite coaches from six different countries. All of this resulted from my day to day efforts of being the best gymnast I could be. I had a dream of becoming a level ten gymnast and representing my country, and because of my plan and the commitment to give my best effort every day, I was able to achieve this goal.
However, no goal can be achieved without perseverance and discipline. The second lesson that gymnastics has taught me is that with perseverance, every obstacle can be overcome. The path to attaining my goal was composed of rocky terrain that left me cut and bruised on numerous occasions. I had to fight my way back from two surgeries and many more injurious setbacks. Those experiences showed me that I am the only person I can control, and that it is better to put my energy into my own actions than into worrying about what other people are accomplishing around me. After my most recent ankle injury, the probability of me competing that season was not in my favor. Nevertheless, I focused solely on my own progress and remained determined to work hard each and every day. Through my perseverance and discipline, I experienced the great joy of accomplishing what others said I could not do, and competed in the last three competitions of the season.
Despite the first two invaluable lessons that gymnastics has taught me, the last lesson has had the greatest impact on my life. Gymnastics has ultimately taught me that it is never too late to redefine your goals. After being recruited for a year and a half in hopes of competing in gymnastics collegiately, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to pursue an education at the school of my choice, rather than an athletic experience at a school chosen for me. Upon this realization I altered all of my previous goals by deciding to retire from gymnastics during my senior year so that I could spend time preparing for my near academic and professional future. Even though it was painful to let go of my previous goals, I have learned to have an open mind and embrace the opportunity of creating new goals that will shape my new future. While I now eagerly anticipate a new direction in my life, I will take with me always the lessons that being a world-class gymnast have instilled in me wherever I go.”
Congratulations to our 2012 Vinson Orthodontics $500 Scholarship Winner: Allysa Clagett!!
“How My Smile Has Affected My Life”
by Allysa Clagett
My smile has affected my life dramatically. I have been under the care of Doctor Vinson for almost six years and ever since the day I sat in his chair I knew that having a beautiful, bright smile was important.
As a dancer, performance is everything. The way one looks when they dance changes the effect of the entire work, especially the way one smiles. My smile has helped me go far in my dancing career. The way I use my smile in performance has awarded me many featured solos and character parts in Cary Ballet’s productions. I have had the pleasure to be casted as the crazy chef in The Little Mermaid, and the goofy step sister from Cinderella; and in more elegant roles such as the Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker, and the Diamond in Rhythms of the Rain Forest. My smile has also helped me perform to my best during multiple Scholarship Auditions to the University of Arizona’s “Jazz Week” as well as The Joffery Ballet’s summer intensive auditions. Most recently, my huge, peppy smile has helped me receive a spot on the North Carolina State University Dance Team, who placed third in the nation for their hip hop routine this past April. The photographer for Cary Ballet once said while photographing me during a show, “You can only perform that dance with a smile like that”. The owner of my dance studio, Suzanne Clark, calls me her “sunshine girl” because she says that every time I walk through the door my smile brightens everyone’s day like sunshine in the morning.
Also, because I work in retail, a bright, beautiful smile is extremely important to my success as a sales associate. My smile actually helped me get hired because my bosses saw my enthusiasm through my smile. As an employee, customer service is most important and is directly related to smiling at your customers. Many people have said that my charisma was the reason why they bought shoes that day and I attribute that to the smile that Vinson Orthodontics has helped me achieve.
My smile has also helped me be a better friend. Over the years, my friends have gone through a lot and when they do not feel like smiling, I seem to be able to smile enough for the both of us until they feel better. The advice I always give is that smiling is the best medicine, even if it is fake at first, sooner than later it will become real and you will feel so much better. Especially if you have been blessed with a Vinson Orthodontic’s smile!
Last impressions are important and as a recent high school graduate I love the fact that multiple people have told me that the thing they will remember most about me is my smile. After being in the care of Dr. Vinson, my awareness of how important a straight and beautiful smile has been raised, and I have gained the knowledge of how it can dramatically affect myself and those around me.
Congratulations to our 2011 Vinson Orthodontics $500 Scholarship Winner: Jimmy A. Joyner , Jr!!
“What is the greatest challenge your generation will face and what ideas do you have for dealing with it?”
By Jimmy A Joyner, Jr.
“There are many challenges that my generation will face, but one that is very important is the aftermath that the natural disasters may leave. It seems as though natural disasters occur every week. The power of these disasters is unbelievable. Looking at the aftermath it’s hard to believe that anything can be done to help these people because their whole lives have been changed with the loss of everything. There’s no way to necessarily deal with the problem of these natural disasters, but being there for one another in the times of the aftermath is a great way to help. Support for one another is something that we need to do in these times. Support can come in many different ways: through cash donations, personally going and aiding, spreading awareness, or clothing donations. When the earthquake hit in Haiti, my two friends and I couldn’t believe the damage that it left. The people looked like there was no hope for the future, but we decided to do something in order to help them. We wanted to be there to support them in the time of their challenging situation.
Working with my two friends to organize and coordinate a shoe drive for the people of Haiti was very satisfying. As America watched the devastation that was plastered on television, everyone felt compelled to act, we were no different. As we sat around talking one afternoon one of my friends said we could just donate some of our old shoes. However, the more we thought about the idea we realized that we could do more than just donate our shoes, but get others to donate theirs as well. It soon became apparent that power is in volumes, thus the birth of the shoe drive. We spoke to our varsity basketball coach about pursuing the shoe drive as part of our yearly rivalry with our cross town opponent. As co-captain, I also thought this would be a great team building exercise. Doing something for someone else has always made me feel good about myself and has always made me feel accomplished, so I figured it would work for the team as well. We spoke to the team and they committed to making it a success. “Young men giving forward” became our mantra. What started with a few shoes out of our closets became a few shoes out of many closets. We were able to collect 600 pairs of shoes and over $1000 in donations. It was such a high for the team especially when as young people were so accustomed to receiving, that we were able to give- “Young men giving forward”. It is my desire that the shoe drive will become an annual signature event for my high school basketball team.”
Jimmy A. Joyner, Jr.- Cary Academy