In April of this year, the Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics Smile for a Lifetime Board of Directors selected our first two scholarship recipients, granting them both free orthodontic care for reaching a demanding list of requirements.

One of the winners, Samantha Sager, now attends Purdue University, starting her freshman year as a pre-pharmacy major. We recently sat down and talked with Samantha. Continue reading to see Samantha’s remarkable story and why it was an obvious choice for our board of directors to select her as our first recipient.

Meet the First Gorman and Bunch Smile for a Lifetime Recipient

Can you talk a little about your upbringing?

I grew up on the southside of Indianapolis, the second youngest of six kids. My father passed away when I was three years old, and my mother raised us all on her own. Around the time I was six or seven, she met a man who was involved with the wrong crowd, and my home life became very unstable. As a result, my older siblings began moving out and started lived with friends. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I knew I needed a better environment to really concentrate and be successful in school and in activities. I moved out at the age of 15 and lived with my sister for a short while in Lebanon until she decided to pursue her military career in Alabama. After she moved I stayed with a friend of hers and then eventually moved in with my boyfriend’s parents.

How did you first discover the Smile for a Lifetime program, and what does it mean to you?

I first discovered Smile for a Lifetime after I came in for a free consultation with Heather Edwards at Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, I knew that I would most likely not be able to afford it, even though I’d been working two jobs and saving money. After I told Heather about my situation she suggested that I apply for the scholarship, and I’m so glad I went in for that consultation!

Why is orthodontic treatment so important to you? What do you think a better, healthier smile might grant you?

I’ve always been very insecure about how my teeth look, oftentimes putting myself down because of it. Growing up, I was bullied at school and sometimes by my siblings, who were lucky enough to be born with a perfect smile. I wanted braces so badly that I would ask family members to get them for me for Christmas or my birthday—even pleading with that cheesy line, “but I’ll never ask for anything ever again!” I’ve never really had that much confidence about my teeth, but I have seen it increase significantly ever since I started treatment. Even though I have a long way to go, I know that I will soon have a healthier, prettier smile, and that makes me so happy!

Can you share about your “pay it forward” plan as part of the Smile for a Lifetime program?

I’ve volunteered all throughout high school and made some connections within my community that help me to pay it forward. For example, I’ve served food to the needy at the Shalom House in Lebanon and volunteered in the art department at the local Boys and Girls Club. I’ve also been part of many clubs that focus on giving back to the community, such as Key Club, Best Buddies, and the Thirst Project.

In college, I plan to be part of similar clubs that focus on making the community a better place for everyone. Then after I’ve finished school and paid off my debt, I plan to donate back to the organizations who helped me follow my dreams. I’ve already started a list of different outside scholarships I received for school and Smile for a Lifetime sits at the top. Although it’s not a school-related organization, Smile for a Lifetime is an amazing program that I hope sticks around forever to help those kids who can’t afford it—but deserve it!

What’s next? Where do you plan to go from here in your life?

I now attend Purdue University, studying pre-pharmacy. If everything goes as planned, I will be spending the next six years of my life in West Lafayette! After school, I plan to stay in Indiana and work at a retail pharmacy, unless a different opportunity sparks my interest.

If you know someone who would be a great candidate, please do let them know about our Smile for a Lifetime Central Indiana Chapter.

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