SOUTH BEND -- Nice teeth often means a bigger smile -- and for teenagers it has a lot to do with self-confidence as well. A local foundation is working to help underprivileged teens improve their self-confidence and their future by giving them a smile to be proud of.
Mishawaka 9th grader Breeanna Temple is one step closer to liking her smile.
"My teeth are crooked and I always get teased about it and stuff," says Temple.
She just got her braces on last week -- thanks to the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation.
"Our mission statement for the foundation is, changing the lives of kids so they can change the future of our community," says South Bend Orthodontist Chad Harrington.
Harrington is part of Smiles for a Lifetime which provides free braces for underprivileged kids. You see, Breeana's family would not have been able to afford the $6,000 price-tag that came a long with her braces -- braces her mom says are needed to help Breeana's self-esteem now and in the future.
"She is very self-conscious about her smile. Like when she takes pictures she will smile but keeps her mouth closed and everything," says Breeanna's mom, Paula Temple, "I know it is important for her self esteem and her future, college, job interviews."
"It is sore," says Cody Melton.
Melton is a 9th grader from Buchanan. He just got his braces on last week. And while he is feeling the pain,it is nothing compared to the jokes from other kids at school.
"They call me buck-tooth beaver and stuff," says Melton.
The hope is thanks to new braces, kids like Breeanna and Cody will learn to love their smile -- and themselves a little more.
"Smiles are everything," says Harrington, "smiles are self confidence. Smiles are the ability to keep your eyes on your goal and make a different in life."
Smiles for a Lifetime is helping eight kids this year and group members say they hope to help six to 10 kids every year. The foundation is made up of orthodontists. Every year the members hopes to give away about $60 thousand in professional care.
If you know a child who deserves braces but can't afford it you can nominate them by visiting:
Local teens get free braces and a shot of self-confidence
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