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Local Open House Helps Children Receive Braces

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Some local children will be receiving braces thanks to the help of a nonprofit organization. Smiles Change Lives held an open house with Muench Orthodontics in Vestal, to qualify kids who's families cannot afford braces. 

Around 70 families with children ages 7-21 preregistered for the event. The average cost for braces totals over $6,000. Owner of Muench Orthodontics, David Muench, says he's been partnering with Smiles Change Lives for three years. Every year he sees more families in need of help. 

"Mom's and dad's come in with their children and the child is definitely in need of treatment. But yet when we get to the finances, that's when the process stops for them because it's just out of reach," said David Muench. " I think a child's ability to feel good about themselves helps to foster self confidence at a time when that's a critical thing. Anything I can do to help with that, I am happy to do." 

Smiles Change Lives is a 20 year old national organization that partners with providers all across North America. Director of Provider services, Alexis Barclay, says open houses are a new initiative that allow them to find a lot of families in need at one time. Dr. Muench is one of four providers who have started the open house events. 

"The more we can find families and let them know this is an option to them, the better we can do," said Barclay. 

To qualify, families had to provide a copy of their 2016 tax return, listing their child as a dependent. Families must also pay a $30 application fee. For more information on Smiles Change Lives you can visit the website here.