I was a brace face! I had braces. When people who know my story find out I had braces they look at me puzzled. A homeless kid with a struggling single mom who had braces? Yep. I did. "I want to tell you something," she said to me with a huge grin. " I talked to Dr. Kirkpatrick and he said he could do you and Isaiah's braces for free." I started crying. I wanted a healthy and beautiful smile, but we struggled to have groceries on a regular basis, so asking my mom for braces was out of the picture. My godmother, Barbara was always working miracles like this for me and my brother. She bought me my first under wire bra and always had the most amazing hair care products to pass on to me. She knew that my brother and I never really had dental care and she had pulled some strings with her son's orthodontist.
I never realized, until after my braces were off, how important taking care of your teeth and your smile is. Self esteem and how you greet the world starts with your mouth. Your mouth is also the first thing people look at. More than social perception, dental/oral care is an indicator of where your heath is. In Arkansas more than half the children (400,000) live at or below the poverty rate.
Poverty means little things like oral health and hygiene get shoved to the side.
Realities like mine, and children in Arkansas, are the reason campaigns like Champions For Kids: Colgate "Bright Smiles, Bright Futures" are so important. CFK & Colgate are about making sure under privileged children get the resources they need to have the best futures; bright smiles included. Champions for Kids has partnered with Colgate and Wal-Mart stores in the Central Arkansas area to bless kids with the tools for oral health! I headed to North Little Rock to check out one Wal-Mart and the donation drop off center.
It was easy to find the donation drop off. Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Colgate welcomed me as I read the instructions on how to participate in this "simple service project".
The donations given at the participating locations go directly to the school districts they are located in and directly to the hands of children who need them. I browsed the aisles and picked up a couple of toothbrushes and Colgate toothpastes to donate.
Not all of us can convince a orthodontist to donate braces to a needy child, but we can afford a few toothbrushes and some toothpaste... What matters most is we care. Simple projects like picking up Colgate toothpaste and toothbrushes are easy and quick ways to help children in your community.
To learn more about Champions For Kids and their Simple Service projects check out Twitter, or look them up on Facebook. Follow along with #Colgate4Kids or tweet Colgate at @ColgateSmile to see all the people participating with "Bright Smiles, Bright Futures." CFK is working to mobilize 20 million people by 2020 to become champions for kids!
*I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study forColgate and Champions for Kids #cbias #SocialFabric, but all opinions are my own.