The Jonesboro, Ark, chapter of Smile for a Lifetime (S4L) recently awarded its 100th orthodontic scholarship to an Arkansas resident. In less than 3 years, the Jonesboro chapter has awarded more than $600,000 in orthodontic scholarships to underserved children.

Smile for a Lifetime was started in 2008 by Benjamin Burris, DDS, MDS, owner of Braces for Burris, as a local nonprofit called Smile for a Lifetime Foundation. A year later, S4L became a national nonprofit. S4L equips orthodontists with resources and tools to develop their own local chapters.

To date, S4L includes 90 chapters in 30 states, and plans to increase to 200 chapters, covering all 50 states and Canada, in the next 5 years. Each chapter commits to serve at least six or more young people annually. By the end of 2012, at least 800 young people will have received more than $4 million in donated orthodontic services through the nonprofit.

Scholarship applicants are asked to fill out an application and provide a letter of recommendation and a photograph of the applicant’s teeth. Applicants work directly with the local S4L chapter and the orthodontist providing the free services.