The philanthropic arm of Dallas County Dental Society, DCDS Foundation, teams up with Attitudes & Attire®, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting personal growth for women seeking self-sufficiency. This collaboration provides a program entitled HOPEFUL Smiles™, which offers restorative dental care to qualifying Attitudes & Attire clients who complete self-esteem, self-sufficiency, and stability workshops plus volunteer a minimum of 20 hours prior to being assigned a dental provider.
DCDS member volunteer dentists have provided new smiles on the faces of over 200 HOPEFUL Smiles women since 2006. One recipient, Josephine Castillo, expresses her gratitude for the time Gregory A. Grave, DDS, of Plano provided in restoring her smile. The following interview is conducted by HOPEFUL Smiles Coordinator Elizabeth Astacio, with before/after photos provided by Dr. Grave.
HS Q: How did you learn about Attitudes & Attire?
Josephine: Homelessness was not something I enjoyed, nor was lacking in money or clothing. Not having any job leads led me to the Texas Workforce Commission. Through them I was referred to Attitudes & Attire.
HS Q: Where were you emotionally, physically and mentally when you attended the Attitudes & Attire workshops?
Josephine: I was emotionally and financially bankrupt which led to homelessness. The reason why it led to homelessness is because I self medicated through shopping. That was my way of handling hurt.
HS Q: What did you walk away with from the workshops?
Josephine: I learned to say thank you to those who interviewed me but did not hire me. Building my confidence for the next interview helped me to continue forward. I also noticed the staff’s demeanor, tone and behavior that showed they wanted to see me succeed, which kept me coming back to the workshops. Attitudes & Attire did not treat me like a case, but instead treated me like a person. Feeling a deep sense of gratitude, I volunteered in the boutique. Not for HOPEFUL Smiles, because at that time I did not know about the dental program.
HS Q: How did you learn about HOPEFUL Smiles?
Josephine: One day, about a year later. I had been working with shoes and held one box in each hand and laughed. It was then Evelyn discovered I had missing front teeth. She pulled me aside and asked me if I had missing teeth. I was so embarrassed. Evelyn explained she had a good reason to ask me and did not intend to make me feel bad. She mentioned to me Attitudes & Attire had another program called HOPEFUL Smiles and said they could help me get my teeth fixed. I was then placed on a long list of clients waiting because there are more clients than dentists.
HS Q: If you could express to dentists a message, what would it be?
Josephine: To every dentist, if you want to leave something on this earth that leaves residual return, HOPEFUL Smiles is going to do it. By changing the life of one woman you have now touched and changed her entire home, her children’s lives and everyone they will impact. With any structure, if you change the foundation, making it solid and secure, everything connected will be solid and secure. Give confidence to the woman who gives confidence to the children, and they will succeed as well. I have two adult daughters in college because I am in college. One of my daughters started her own business. All of this would not have taken place without HS and building confidence. Residual return from one smile. So will you…?
If you would like to help women whose impaired ability to smile hinders them in both professional and social settings, please contact Lori Dees, DCDS Foundation Manager, at [email protected] or call 972-386-5741 ext. 228. DCDS Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity whose purpose is to enhance the quality of life in our community by promoting improved access to oral health care, education and research. In addition to brightening the lives of people in need, volunteering increases job skills and helps you network with colleague dentists.