JONESBORO, Ark. — The Jonesboro, Ark., charter of the national foundation Smile for a Lifetime (S4L) recently awarded its 100th orthodontic scholarship to Arkansas resident Luís Mazariegos. In less than three years, the Jonesboro chapter of S4L has awarded more than $600,000 in orthodontic scholarships to underserved children changing lives one smile at a time.In 2008, in an effort to reach out to his local community and provide pro bono orthodontic scholarships for children who could not afford braces, Dr. Benjamin Burris, owner of Braces for Burris, was inspired to start a local nonprofit called Smile for a Lifetime Foundation. One year later, S4L became a national nonprofit, equipping local orthodontists with the resources and tools necessary to develop their own local chapters.S4L now includes 90 chapters in 30 states with a movement underway to increase to 200 chapters across the country, covering all 50 states and Canada in the next five years. Each chapter commits to serve at least six young people annually. By the end of 2012, some 800 to 1,000 young people will have received the gift of a smile with more than $4 million to $6 million of orthodontic services donated.Recipients of orthodontic scholarships through S4L are asked to fill out an application, and provide a letter of recommendation and a photograph of the applicant’s teeth. Applicants work directly with the local S4L chapter and orthodontist providing the free services. To learn more about the chapters across the country and how to apply to be a participating orthodontist or braces recipient, visit www.S4L.org.
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The photo is Dr. Benjamin Burris with Luís Mazariegos.