Smiles Change Lives recently honored nine recipients, including five orthodontists, at its 6th annual Gini Awards. The Gini Awards, named in honor of Virginia Brown, or “Gini” as her friends call her, recognize the orthodontic partners, volunteers, and individuals involved with the organization who have gone above and beyond to inspire hope, raise self-esteem, and help change the lives of children across the United States and Canada by providing braces to kids whose families cannot afford the full cost of orthodontic treatment.

Smiles Change Lives boasts a network of over 800 volunteer orthodontists across the United States and Canada, and hundreds of office, committee, and event volunteers, allowing the organization to help treat more than 10,000 kids since its inception in 1997.

The following orthodontists received a 2016 Gini Award in recognition of their outstanding service: Dr Nellie Kim-Weroha, Rochester, Minn; Dr Dustin Coles, Phoenix; Dr Tyler Coles, Phoenix; Dr Lisa Grant, Chicago; and Dr Randall Markarian (Distinguished Service Award), St Louis. Representative Rob Bruchman, of Leawood, Kan, and the American Association of Orthodontists’ DJ Haman, St Louis, received the Gini Award as community partners.

Meanwhile, NorthStar Orthodontics Inc, Park Rapids, Minn, was recognized as a sponsor, and Mucheng Yang, of Kansas City, Mo, as a volunteer.

This year’s event took place on Friday, September 23, 2016 at the Carriage Club in Kansas City, Mo.

Smiles Change Lives serves children who are between the ages of 10 and 18, with good oral hygiene, and who are not currently wearing braces but have a moderate to severe need for braces, and meet certain financial guidelines. An application must be submitted to the program for approval, which can be found at