Smiles for Success brings free dental care to Pensacola women in need

For women transitioning out of welfare, homelessness or incarceration and reentering the workforce, there are several factors that can lower their confidence. Their smile is a major one.

Dr. Mary Martin, board president of the Smiles for Success Foundation, was one of the founding women that launched a pilot program in 1995 that provided free oral care to women to help meet their health needs and boost their self-esteem. Since then, the organization has partnered with women enrolled in job readiness programs across over 30 states.

“We decided that they wanted to start a philanthropic arm to do something for women. Women who didn’t have a chance at getting jobs, or at life,” Martin said.

Now, the Smiles for Success board has set its sights on Pensacola and is planning to establish its first community clinic locally with a goal of serving about 300 women per year.

“We are going to have our own dental unit so that we can have the dentists come there and see the patient,” Martin said. “Hopefully within a year we’ll have that setup, because we’ve got the patients, we’ve got the programs. We had a couple of dentists volunteer, but they couldn’t see the patients in their place of work. So, we’re going to have to set up a dental operatory.”

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