Michael, an 11-year-old boy, came to us with a simple request: “I need braces for one reason: the people make fun of me at school because my teeth are crooked. That makes me sad.”
Michael’s teeth not only affected his self-confidence, but they also impacted his speech, which caused additional problems at school including reading and his ability to read fluently.
“He often walks with his head down and is hesitant to talk to others,” his teachers said.
Unfortunately, Michael’s family did not have the means to help make his wish come true. But Michael wasn’t the only one struggling. Jaden, a 13-year-old girl from the same area, was also dealing with self-confidence issues surrounding her teeth. When her mom lost her job and the family lost their house, she had little reason to smile.
She commented, “I don’t like to smile right now. If I got braces, I would be excited. It would want to make me smile all the time.”
When the staff at Molen Orthodontics heard the heart-breaking stories of Michael and Jaden, we knew we had to do something. So we decided to put a smile back on these kids’ faces and pay it forward to the community that has helped us for so many years.
Molen Orthodontics partnered with Smile for a Lifetime (S4L), an international program that provides orthodontic scholarships for kids in need. We even decided to head up a local chapter in the South Puget Sound area to provide additional scholarships to families in need. The scholarships cover the cost of receiving braces for children between the ages of 11 and 17.
With a plan in motion, Molen Orthodontics set out to help Michael and Jaden by providing them with orthodontic scholarships. As a matter of fact, we just finished putting the new braces on their teeth. It was a life-changing moment for both children as well as the staff at Molen.
Many of us have families that have lived in this community for generations. To hear stories about local kids who are struggling with self-confidence, speech impediments or pain in their mouth is difficult. Knowing that we can make an impact and instill some newfound confidence gives us a reason to smile as well.
As part of the scholarship program, Molen asked Michael and Jaden to submit a Pay it Forward plan of their own. We like to think of it as a business plan for the soul. Each youth will give back to their community by providing 40 hours of community service and may choose to donate their time however they like. They might volunteer at a local food bank, an orphanage, an animal shelter or any number or charities. The specifics are up to them. We just encourage them to choose a cause that touches their hearts.
Both Jaden and Michael have decided to give back to the community by volunteering their time at the local food bank. Giving back teaches kids about the power of service. It helps them to develop character and compassion. And it allows them to develop skills and gain experiences that will prepare them for college and for being a responsible adult.
We believe that when you seek to change lives for the better, you discover that it is you who has been changed. Reaching out and serving others impacts you in ways you might never imagine. It makes each of us, not only better citizens in our community, but better human beings. At Molen, it is our hope that this scholarship program will be the means of inspiring hope in our community while changing lives for the better, one smile at a time.
Smile for a Lifetime
Molen Orthodontics is proud to participate in the Smile for a Lifetime (S4L) which provides scholarships for orthodontic care to children who would not otherwise be able to access treatment. Smile for a Lifetime has participating orthodontists throughout the US and provides scholarships for hundreds of patients each year. Each chapter is represented by its own Board of Directors who have the pleasure of being able to select
which patients are granted scholarships. Molen Orthodontics
is in the South Puget Sound Chapter.
Donate to Smile For A Lifetime
Donate today via PayPal button above.
What is Smile for a Lifetime?
S4L is a charitable non-profit organization, and was launched in 2008 out of a desire to provide worthy individuals the opportunity to get the orthodontic assistance that they need. As we know, a healthy mouth can have numerous physical and emotional benefits, so S4L was established to be able to provide much needed orthodontic care to individuals with financial or other unique challenges who might not otherwise be able to undergo the treatment.
The Smile for a Lifetime Mission
The Smile for a Lifetime mission (gladly supported by Molen Orthodontics!) is to change the lives of children in our community through creating self-confidence and inspiring hope, one beautiful wide smile at a time.
The orthodontists at Molen Orthodontics are proud to be an active part of their community, and have been for over 40 years. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional orthodontic care to our patients in the fun, state-of-the-art facilities in our three convenient locations. We are passionate about our profession and are well known for our outstanding customer service, and for giving each of our patients a wide, healthy, natural looking smile that they’ll be able to enjoy for a lifetime. Giving back to the community is a big part of our team mission statement, and one of the many reasons we participate in S4L. We look forward to giving the gift of a smile to some very deserving young people.
Learn more about Dr. Bruce Molen, Dr. Aaron Molen, or Dr. Rick Molen.
How to Apply
Below you’ll find the requirements to apply for Smile for a Lifetime. You can also learn more in the Molen Orthodontics Smile for Life Brochure.
Letters of Recommendation
We required at least one and a maximum of two recommendation letters. Please ensure that each letter is limited to one page, typed or printed clearly in black ink. Letters can be written by school, church or community leaders who know the applicant. Do not send letters written in pencil or written by family members.
Application and Application Questionnaire
The applicant must complete both the application and applicant questionnaire. Applicants should also provide a report card.
Residency in South Puget Sound Chapter
The applicant must be a resident of Sumner, Auburn, Enumclaw or the surrounding areas.
Please note that your application, letters of reference and pictures will not be returned to you and will become property of the Smile for a Lifetime foundation.
Download the Smile 4 A Lifetime Application
To be considered for a scholarship applicants must:
- Be willing to contribute 40 hours of community service
- Have a significant aesthetic need for braces
- Have a family income that does not exceed 185% of the poverty threshold
- Be between 11 and 17 years old
- Be enrolled in a local school and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA
- Demonstrate a positive attitude
- Agree to follow the treatment plan and demonstrate the ability to attend all appointments as scheduled
- Show involvement and leadership through extracurricular activities
Download the Smile 4 A Lifetime Application