Local orthodontist joins Smile for a Lifetime

November 12, 2013

By Daniel Jeon

Offers scholarship to deserving youth

Dr. Christian Manley’s orthodontist clinics have recently partnered with Smile for a Lifetime to help bring dental care to youths in need — and they need youths to help.

Manley serves the Issaquah and Sammamish area with orthodontic care from his two clinics. It was at a professional meeting that he learned about the international nonprofit S4L, dedicated to helping children show off confident smiles.

S4L was founded in 2008 to bring orthodontic care to those who are in need and cannot afford it. Its 137 chapters offer clients a scholarship that covers the cost of orthodontia for children and teens ages 11-18.

Manley, who agreed to care for six clients a year, said he is extremely excited to begin working with them.

“There are so many who could really benefit from having a nice smile,” he said. “A lot of the kids are getting teased at school and they can’t do anything about it. Emotionally, they’re not so happy.”

But Manley expects something in return. Youth seeking the scholarship will have to fill out an application form and a questionnaire, in addition to providing two letters of recommendation. His board of directors, comprised of volunteers from the community, will vote on whether to accept the client.

“We want somebody who is willing to work,” Manley said. “Their way of keeping up their end of the bargain is doing well in school, being active in community service.”

It is Manley’s hope that they will be in a position to give back to the community in the future.

“I’ve been in practice here since 1991, and the community has really supported me. I think this is the best way that I can give back to the community for treating me so well,” he said.

The dental team also looks forward to working with S4L. Michelle Risinger, the treatment coordinator at Manley’s clinic and secretary of his S4L board of directors, said she is excited to see how it can change lives. She said that the clinic has helped people in need before, but S4L allows them to reach out to so many more.

Carol Allen, a program coordinator for the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry program, said at least 69,000 youth under age 18 have not accessed dental care in more than a year, and was happy to learn there is another way for children to get help.

While Manley is excited to begin, the chapter has had a slow start.

“That’s been our biggest challenge, finding patients who want to get started with us and getting the word out.

“What it would mean to them to have a nice smile so they don’t want to fight it — I think this is one of the best gifts anyone can give anyone,” he said. “Not only will it help their self-esteem now, but they’ll be happy to smile in the future.”


Daniel Jeon is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.


On the Web

  • Apply online for a scholarship from Smile for a Lifetime at http://bit.ly/HNOdiO.
  • Learn more about Smile for a Lifetime at www.s4l.org.
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