The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation’s Give Back a Smile (GBAS) program was recently awarded a 2015 Power of A Gold Award by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Power of A Awards showcase how associations leverage their unique resources to solve problems, advance industry/professional performance, kick start innovation, and improve world conditions. This year, GBAS was one of 30 programs selected for a Gold Award from among 140 entries. GBAS is now contending for the Summit Award, the ASAE’s highest honor for association work.
GBAS applied for an award in the Power to Make a Better World category, as the program’s mission is to assist in rebuilding the smiles and lives of adults who have suffered dental injuries from domestic and sexual violence. According the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence, and 75% of battering is to the face. This type of abuse results in a tremendous number of dental injuries. GBAS works to heal some of the most devastating effects of domestic and sexual violence by restoring the smiles of these survivors through compassionate cosmetic dental services and support programs.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Density Charitable Foundation (AACDCF) launched the Give Back a Smile program May 27, 1999, recognizing that its members have the unique skills to restore damaged smiles due to domestic and sexual violence. Since the program’s 1999 inception, members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry have volunteered their time and expertise pro bono to restore the damaged smiles of more than 1,400 survivors of domestic violence for a total dollar value of more than $14 million. Just last year, 68 member dentists located in 20 different states, completed smile restorations valuing more than $800,000, at no cost to qualifying applicants.
A smile restoration not only improves the recipient’s physical appearance but also has intangible benefits. GBAS smile restorations increase self-esteem, self-confidence, chances of securing employment, and often can bring a sense of closure to the past abuse. The AACDCF also provides educational scholarships for GBAS program recipients enrolled in college – scholarships totaling $20,000 this year.
Members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry have many opportunities to support their Charitable Foundation—support that ultimately leverages the dental profession, spreads goodwill within their local communities, and benefits their dental practices, all while supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence. One of these volunteer opportunities is through the GBAS Whitening Fundraiser. Member dental offices pledge to whiten their patients’ teeth with whitening materials donated by an AACD partner, so that all whitening proceeds can going directly to the Give Back a Smile program. This is just one example of how the AACDCF has leveraged its unique resources to improve world conditions – patients getting brighter whiter smiles, dental offices benefit through cause marketing, and the Give Back a Smile program receives sustainable funding to help carry out its mission.
One GBAS recipient described it best: “It’s hard to put into words how much this opportunity has changed my life. Even after completion of my new smile, it took time to realize that I no longer needed to place my hand in front of my mouth when speaking or laughing. I am so thankful. Not only did these people give me back my smile, but they also gave me back my life.”
Click here to find out how you can help Give Back a Smile.