After months of searching, a Springville orthodontist announced the teacher and child who will receive free orthodontics work as well as become the face of the business’ charitable programs.
Warren Orthodontics began accepting applications from local children from the ages of 10 to 15 years old in late February.
Almost 60 children from Springville and the surrounding areas applied for the opportunity to become the face of the business’s charitable program, Warren’s Got Smiles, and receive a complimentary braces treatment.
Warren Orthodontics founder Casey Warren went through each of the applications based on need and attitude.
While applications were still being considered, the orthodontics practice announced the Smiles for Teachers program in April to give a deserving teacher complimentary orthodontic Invisalign or braces treatments with costs upward of $8,000.
Dozens of teachers applied for the program, with three finalists announced in early May. Community members were then asked to vote for who they believed should be the first teacher in the Smiles for Teachers program during Teacher Appreciation Week, from May 4-10.
Now, Warren Orthodontics has announced the two winners, who will be the faces of their respective programs and receive complimentary orthodontics treatments. Freshman Rowdy Peterson, and preschool teacher and mother Heather Child were surprised at their homes.
Of the almost 8,000 votes, Child received 4,171.
“I became a preschool teacher because 4-year-olds are the best humans on the planet,” Child said in a statement. “It is super fun and fulfilling to help shape their early development and learning, which sets them up for so much success as they enter elementary school.”
Child teaches at the Child to Child Preschool in Springville, and while her siblings had braces as a child, her parents didn’t believe she needed them at the time. As she grew up, Child’s teeth began to become crooked, and now, her teeth and large overbite are causing her bottom teeth to wear down.
The Smiles for Teachers program was already in motion when the coronavirus shut down the practice for six weeks, but Warren said the challenges he and his staff faced made him even more determined to find a deserving teacher.
“Teachers always give back to kids,” he said. “I think of certain teachers in my life who really helped form who I am today. They had to scramble to figure out the online school for the kids, and I know they missed their kids. It helped even more, from my viewpoint, to say, ‘Teachers deserve this.’”
Peterson grew up in Mona where he is ranked as one of the best high school wrestlers in the state with the Juab Wrestling Club. He loves to make others smile, but has become discouraged at times because of the relentless teasing he receives for his crooked teeth.
He applied for the Warren’s Got Smiles program in hopes of enhancing his smile and gaining more confidence.
“What stood out to me about Rowdy was he’s a humble kid and he’s got confidence, but his teeth are crowded, as well,” Warren said. “If we can get Rowdy’s teeth even more straight, he can be more confident and smile. He seemed like a very humble kid, a very grateful child.”
Throughout his teen years, Warren received braces treatments from local orthodontists where he was able to experience the transformation of a good smile firsthand, he said.
Being able to give back to his own community, he said, has been the more rewarding part of his job.
“This is the best part of my job,” Warren said. “That’s what I enjoy the most, finding someone that could use it and needs it, being able to serve in what I’m so good at doing.”
As the “poster patient” of the Warren’s Got Smiles program, Warren said he and his staff will be documenting Peterson’s transformation throughout the treatment process.
During that time, Peterson will be sharing how this experience has changed his life, as well.
While Warren plans to continue these programs into the future on an annual basis, he said he is looking into the possibility of doing so more frequently because of the overwhelmingly positive community response.