According to an article in the [removed]Kansas City Star[/removed], Virginia Brown, founder of the nonprofit Smiles Change Lives, will be honored next month at the group’s fund-raising lunch.

The event is scheduled from noon to 1 PM on November 16 at the InterContinental Hotel in Kansas City. In addition to honoring Brown, the benefit will educate guests about how Smiles Change Lives works and why it is a worthy cause, according to Andrea Umbreit, marketing coordinator for the agency.

"If you come to the luncheon and hear what these kids who we’ve helped have to say, it’s just amazing," Umbreit said. "Many have had trouble chewing and speaking and swallowing because of their teeth and misalignment. And the embarrassment factor of their smiles being so deformed that they haven’t been able to operate normally among their peers."

For more than a decade, Smiles Change Lives has been providing medically necessary orthodontic treatment to children from low-income families. The program is for children between the ages of 11 and 18, and is partnered with orthodontists who provide the braces and follow-up appointments for $2,500. The program operates in Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, and Florida, and is looking to expand nationwide, Umbreit said.

"These kids want braces so badly," Umbreit said. "And the neat thing is that we can fix it. If we can give these kids a whole new outlook on life for $2,500, why in the world wouldn’t we do that? There are a lot of bad things, scary things out in this world, and no matter how much money we throw at the problem, we’re not going to fix them. But this is something we can fix, and it’s absolutely life-changing for these kids."

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