CARMEL, Ind- As a kid, Samantha Sager never showed her teeth when she smiled.
“Growing up I got bullied a lot for my teeth, being too skinny, and a lot of other features but my teeth were the biggest one,” said Sager.
Sam knew braces could straighten her front teeth and correct an overbite.
But she also understood being one of six siblings raised by a single mother meant her family couldn't afford many extra expenses. Her father died when she was three.
“I would always bug my mom about them. She would say, 'What you want for Christmas?' I would say, 'I just want braces, Mom. That’s all I want,'” said Sager.
In May she finally got that Christmas gift she’d been asking for.
Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics awarded her its first-ever "Smile for a Lifetime" scholarship, worth more than $6,500.
“A new smile can completely transform your life,” said Dr. Carly Moran, an orthodontist with Gorman & Bunch.
In exchange for the free orthodontic treatment, Smile for a Lifetime scholarship recipients must complete 40 hours of community service.
“Our goal is to be able to change their life, and then have them to be able to have an impact in the community they’re involved with so they can make a change, too,” said Dr. Jason Bunch, one of the owners of the Gorman & Bunch practice.
Samantha finished all her community service hours before starting at Purdue this fall. She’s studying to be a pharmacist.
“I even told them, hopefully I make it as a pharmacist. I would like to be one of the people who donate to this cause because it was so important to me,” said Sager.
In the meantime, she’s not-so-patiently waiting to see her new smile.
“Every day I wake up, and I’m like, 'I’m almost there,'” she said.
The next application deadline for the Gorman & Bunch’s Smile For A Lifetime scholarship is JANUARY 15, 2018.
You must be between 11-19 to apply.
It’s best to live within an hour or so of one of the practice’s seven offices (Carmel, Westfield, Kokomo, Lawrence, Marion, Wabash, Zionsville).
Applicants must show a significant need for braces and agree to follow the treatment plan.
Click here for the see the other requirements and to learn how to apply.