Braces get Jade smiling
Jade Tavita-Hakaraia has a lot to smile about.
For the next couple of years she will have free orthodontic care from the Wish For A Smile Trust.
The trust is made up of orthodontists across the country who sponsor Kiwi teens with very crooked teeth or a particularly bad bite.
Jade was one of 30 nationwide recipients and applied after her nana read about it.
‘‘My nana was definitely the happiest because she was the one who kept encouraging me to do it. ‘‘So she was stoked.’’ The braces went on last month and Jade is excited to have a straight smile.
‘‘I’m so happy I was chosen. It definitely wasn’t a possibility for my family to think of braces as an option without this opportunity.’’
The 18-year-old says she was often teased about her teeth.
‘‘They’d compare me to Tight Eyez, the dancer. He had something wrong with his teeth and that wasn’t nice.’’
She says hearing problems added to her insecurities.
‘‘Sometimes I didn’t know what was going on. I went through my childhood not really knowing what others were saying about me.’’
As a recipient Jade will have to make good on her application promises.
‘‘I mentioned that this oppor- tunity would change my life and that if I could, I would do 100 hours of community service. I also said I was grateful for this opportunity and that hopefully I’d be selected.’’
Requirements include a clinical assessment form, a letter outlining why orthodontic treatment is needed and letter from her parents and dean supporting her application. Jade is also required to make sure she takes good care of her pearly whites.
She wants other teens to know about the trust because severe dental problems affect a lot of people.
‘‘Some people have really low self esteem due to it, so being aware that this is available is the most important thing. ‘‘The least you can do is apply.’’ Applications are assessed by the trust’s national selection committee twice a year, but are welcome at any time.
The Wish For A Smile Trust is a public health initiative of the New Zealand Association of Orthodontists.
Straightening up: Jade TavitaHakaraia is receiving free orthodontic care from the Wish For A Smile Trust.