Get to Know Our First Smile for a Lifetime Recipient

September 13, 2017
Jason K. Bunch, DDS, MS


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.

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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  • Personal and professional, everyone always takes great care of my sensitive mouth teen!

    This is our first experience with needing orthodontia, when it’s time for my youngest to get braces, we’ll choose this place again in a heartbeat.

    From the team up front to the team in the back, everyone is so nice and yet so efficiently on task, it is quite impressive.

    They have reasonable pricing and are willing to help with a payment plan.

    Keep up the great work!!

    Robert Cassidy Avatar
    Robert Cassidy

    Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

    Ryder man 645 Lozier Avatar
    Ryder man 645 Lozier

    Excellent every time we’ve brought our kids. Thorough evaluations, knowledgeable doctors/staff, great with kids, and great results

    Stephanie Avatar

    Heather and Dr Carly were awesome! Friendly, informative, and professional. Office was very inviting. We had a great appointment and look forward to the next couple of years of working with them.

    Andy Tebbe Avatar
    Andy Tebbe
  • This 64 year old had teeth that had begun to overlap in my adult years, which was attributed to having 4 good teeth removed as a child for "Crowded teeth". I waited to fund Invisalign until incurring no penalty for taking IRA funds, other than taxes. I was fortunate to be referred to Dr. Jason Bunch by my dentist, Dr. Jack Nicewander. Dr. Bunch and his Carmel, IN office staff see numerous children and young adults, but welcome the young at heart as well. I trust them and find them accommodating, efficient, professional and compassionate.

    Joyce Eggleston Avatar
    Joyce Eggleston

    Cannot say enough good things about this practice! I've been to Westfield and Carmel locations, both are beautiful with helpful and friendly staff. Dr Bunch is experienced, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his patients and strives to get the best results possible for each one!

    Karen Caudle Avatar
    Karen Caudle

    I can’t say enough great things about this office. I am legal guardian of my sister and she is going through Invisalign with them… She’s almost done and I am amazed by the results.
    I also go there for continued orthodontic care because orthodontic retention is for life! So glad I have such great people to care for our teeth!!!

    Veronica Boyle Avatar
    Veronica Boyle

    I received Invisalign treatment and had a lot going on. As a mom of two children ,under two years old, it’s tough making doctor appointments but let me tell you they make it work! I was with Dr. Carly at the Westfield office and she always encouraged my little sons to come during my appointments. This made things so much easier for me. The staff at Gorman and Bunch were always welcoming and inviting. They would remember you and are honestly genuine people. Let me tell you it is hard finding good medical practices these days but these people are the best. I forever will recommend Gorman and Bunch to young kiddos and adults.

    Casey Hood Avatar
    Casey Hood
  • Amazing office! My daughter was home from college and had an orthodontic emergency. She was not a previous patient. Dr Moran was kind enough to see her. The entire staff was amazing. I would never go anywhere else!

    Sharon Hoover Avatar
    Sharon Hoover

    Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

    Alyssa Lozier Avatar
    Alyssa Lozier

    I just started my first week with the Invisalign. The staff has been extremely friendly and helpful through every step.

    Dr Carly’s initial evaluation of my case was extremely thorough and the options were explained in detail to help make an informed decision.

    They’ve certainly exceeded my expectation and from the looks of it, they do a great job with their younger patients as well!

    Patrick May Avatar
    Patrick May

    We were very pleased with the staff and services at Gorman & Bunch. From the beginning, they were very friendly and made us feel comfortable with our first ortho visit. Dr. Carly was very nice and attentive. We ended up with braces for my son on the first visit and they were quick and thorough and made our experience very positive. Definitely would recommend them! They are awesome!

    Donia Shackelford Avatar
    Donia Shackelford
  • Amazing experience they all made my daughter and I feel very comfortable, all the ladies were extremely nice. Very well informed. Wouldn't go anywhere else!

    Erica Wood Avatar
    Erica Wood

    This is the best place to go! Dr. Carly and her staff have made my daughter's smile beautiful.

    Ruth Perkins Avatar
    Ruth Perkins

    Friendly staff and inviting atmosphere!!! Very detail oriented with the treatment plan.

    Lisa H Avatar
    Lisa H

    Love this office! Helpful, professional, and knowledgeable doctor and staff. Haven’t had 1 issue with them. They’ve got their routine down pat.

    Courtney Amos Avatar
    Courtney Amos
  • Fantastic staff who put the person (and their teeth!) at the center of the experience. Child-friendly waiting areas. I've had nothing but good experiences over my nearly 10 years with Gorman and Bunch. Cannot recommend highly enough!

    Pete Freeman Avatar
    Pete Freeman

    I love this office. The staff and Dr. Carly are great. I’m having amazing results with my program! I highly suggest it to any and everyone!

    Mark Roberts Avatar
    Mark Roberts

    Very great place! Went there for my first time today and i felt so comfortable and they are helping me fix my mouth!! Love love love!

    Haley Elston Avatar
    Haley Elston