(Jacksonville Beach, FL) – When Caitlin Gully of Atlantic Beach grows up, she wants to be a television journalist. She recognizes the challenge of that career path with anything less than a perfect smile, but her family doesn’t have the means to provide her with orthodontic care.
Enter the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation and Dr. Shreena Patel of Beaches Orthodontics, who awarded Caitlin with a free orthodontic scholarship. Caitlin was one of many applicants to respond to the charity’s initial call for applications, and Dr. Patel announced today that Caitlin would be the first recipient.
In October, Patel opened the the Jacksonville chapter of Smile for a Lifetime, an international nonprofit organization that provides orthodontic care and free braces to underserved children with financial challenges and special orthodontic needs. She is determined to make the scholarships available to 10-12 kids per year.
Once the applications are sent in to Dr. Patel, she assembles her Board of Directors who make the final decision, with Dr. Patel actually recusing herself from the selection process. “Cailtin’s application was perfect,” said Dr. Patel. “Her family’s story is upbeat, but they clearly need the financial support. She is a great kid who has positive career ambition, does community service and gets good grades.” Continued Dr. Patel, “Like most kids with less than a perfect smile, she lacks confidence and self esteem. She barely reveals her teeth when she talks, let alone smiles. I am excited to help her move past that phase of her life by working with S4L to give her the smile she and any kid should have.”
Said Caitlin, “I was so excited to be chosen. This opportunity will change my life by making me feel better about myself. The first thing people look at is your teeth, and I don’t want to go through my life having people saying, ‘she has crooked teeth.’ I am grateful to Dr. Patel and cannot wait to get started.”
Said Dr. Patel, “This is why I am an orthodontist – because I truly believe that what we do not only provides for improved dental health, function and esthetics, but also builds self-esteem, confidence and because of this, I can provide our patients with a better life.” She added, “Thanks to Smile for a Lifetime and Ormco, and as our organization grows and we attract donors, we can provide many kids with orthodontic care who traditionally couldn’t consider it. I want to change lives, and S4L gives me that platform.”
A Jacksonville native, Dr. Shreena Patel currently resides in Jacksonville Beach. She is a graduate of The Bolles School and the University of Florida, where she received her BS in Nutritional Sciences, DMD and her Masters of Science in Orthodontics. She has been practicing orthodontics in the market since 2008. She bought Dr. David Carden’s practice in August of 2011.
About Dr. Patel & Beaches Orthodontics
Dr. Shreena Patel is proud to give back to her hometown of Jacksonville, one smile at a time. A graduate of The Bolles School, Dr. Patel went on to study at the University of Florida, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science, as well as her DMD and a Master’s of Science degree in orthodontics. Upon graduating from dental school in 2005, she was inducted into Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the national dental honor society that recognizes a select group of students who have distinguished themselves in scholarship, character and professionalism. Earlier this year, Dr. Patel was awarded the University of Florida Outstanding Young Alumnus for 2013. In October, she launched the Jacksonville chapter of Smile for a Lifetime, a national not-for-profit organization providing free orthodontic care to underserved children with financial challenges and special orthodontic needs.
Dr. Patel She is trained in a broad range of orthodontic systems and techniques to treat patients of all ages, and is an Invisalign® Premier Provider and Teen Provider, as well as provider of Insignia Braces and Damon Braces. Beaches Orthodontics is located at 3450 South Third Street in Jacksonville Beach. The office can be reached at 904.241.2471 or in the web at patelbeachesorthodontics.com.
About Smile for a Lifetime Foundation
Smile for a Lifetime Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization comprised of local chapters throughout the country that provides quality orthodontic treatment for patients who may not have the opportunity to achieve a beautiful, straight smile without financial assistance.
The mission of S4L is to create self-confidence, inspire hope and change the lives of children in their communities in a dramatic way. The gift of a smile can do all this for a deserving, underserved individual who, in turn, can use this gift to better themselves and their community. During treatment, many S4L local chapters also encourage scholarship recipients to participate in community service through a “pay it forward” program inspiring young people to participate in lifelong giving.