OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Last year, Braces Omaha offered free corrective dental appliances for one lucky teacher through its Smiles for teachers program. Braces Omaha is doing the same this year.
Today through April 28, teachers in the area can apply for the program at https://bracesomaha.com/teachers/.
Following a review of submissions, finalists selections will be made and public voting for the winning teacher will open.
Read more in Braces Omaha’s release below:
Teachers play an instrumental role in shaping the future of every student in the community and Dr. Stevens of Braces Omaha wants every teacher to feel confident in their smiles. Now more than ever, it is essential to support and pay tribute to the millions of educators who are still coping with distant learning and continue to go above and beyond for their students during the pandemic. The Omaha community submitted over 74,000 votes for local teachers for Braces Omaha’s Smiles For Teachers program last year – an initiative that provides a deserving local teacher with complimentary orthodontic treatment of either Invisalign® or braces – treatments that otherwise cost upwards of $6,000. Braces Omaha is proud to relaunch its Smiles For Teachers program for the second year and is seeking another candidate for a free smile makeover.
Throughout the pandemic, teachers have proven to be one of the most innovative members of the workforce doing what it takes to keep their students engaged and hopeful during a very stressful time, yet many feel they are underpaid for the stress and risk of teaching throughout the pandemic. A study conducted by the RAND corporation found that out of 1,000 former public school teachers, 43% of all the teachers who left voluntarily and before their scheduled retirement said they did so because the stresses and disappointments of teaching weren’t worth it—nearly twice as many as those who said the pay wasn’t sufficient. And among the teachers who left primarily because of the pandemic, 64 percent said they weren’t paid enough to merit the risks or stress of teaching.
Last year’s final recipient for the Smiles For Teachers was Ashley Reech, a third-grade teacher at Holling Heights Elementary that received over 30,000 votes. In her application, she stated that she has always been self-conscious of her smile and has avoided smiling with her teeth in most photos. She became a teacher because she was “inspired by many great teachers growing up” and “has always had a passion for working with children.” Ashley also said she comes back every day because she’s making a difference in her student’s lives and they rely on her as a positive, loving adult.
“The teachers in our community have been working long hours the past year to give their students as much of a normal education as they possibly can during the pandemic,” says Dr. Clarke Stevens. “Teachers deserve to feel confident in their smiles whether they are standing in front of a class or virtually. This program gives back to teachers who invest so much of their time and money to ensure students receive a successful education—especially during these difficult times.”
The application process for the Smiles For Teachers program is simple. Teachers are asked to write a sentence about why they became a teacher and what keeps them coming back each day. Submit two clear photos: the first showing their current dental state, and the second should be a headshot that may be used on the practice’s website during the voting period. Eligible applicants must be current teachers in or near the Omaha, Nebraska area.
Applications for the Smiles For Teachers program will be accepted today through April 28. Teachers living in and around the Omaha community are encouraged to apply. After the submission period closes, the Braces Omaha team will review applications and select the finalists. The top finalists will be announced, and public voting for the final recipient will take place during Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3 - May 9, 2021). Teachers can apply by visiting bracesomaha.com/teachers. Braces Omaha will also post program updates on their Facebook page at facebook.com/bracesomaha.