Creating a Community Practice to Honor Everyday Heroes
One of the most significant silver linings to come out of the ongoing stress of the pandemic is the emergence of the “everyday” hero. Moreover, the beauty that shines through their efforts help our communities thrive. (Image Credit: Naomi and Kanella)
As an aesthetic doctor of dental medicine, I’ve had the joy of helping people align their internal beauty with the symmetry of a perfected smile. However, for these extraordinary times, my practice team and I wanted to bring something additional to our community and neighbors.
In turn, we launched a campaign called #SmilesForBostonHeroes. And we’re here to share our story in the hopes that it inspires you to look for the beauty of selfless sacrifice and helping others that stands alongside each and every one of us during these difficult times – often quietly helping without recognition. We also hope that this moves you to look around your workplace and see if there is a way for your team to give back as well. Or simply honor that hard-working hero right alongside you.
For our program, we wanted to find a local Hero and give back to him or her by gifting the honoree with a “smile” in appreciation for the smiles they’ve given to countless others for their service. Little did we know the outpouring on social media would be so phenomenal! Indeed, we were inspired to honor not one but two Heroes!
#SmilesForBostonHeroes: The Community Responds
We launched the program in July 2020 and ran it through the month. The #SmilesForBostonHeroes campaign earned fantastic community response. In fact, we saw a 900% boost in social media engagement. But more importantly, the program allowed us to share some truly inspiring stories of local heroes.
For an additional silver lining, we were also able to mix in a share of must-know dental health tips during the campaign. This information was very important as individuals couldn’t access dental health care as easily during these pandemic times. We found the mix of inspiration and education to be a much-needed morale-boost for the community.
Meet our Heroes: Naomi and Kanella
When it came time to choose our Hero, we simply couldn’t do it! We needed to create a special honors category to properly appreciate TWO community heroes.
Our honoree and recipient of a $20,000 Smile Makeover is Naomi Flaherty, an emergency and rehabilitation nurse who is right there when a loved one needs immediate care – and there to help individuals rebuild back to a healthy life after an emergency situation. On top of all of that, Naomi is studying for her advanced degree as a Family Health Practicing Nurse. We are in awe and of course all smiles for Naomi.
“A positive outlook paired with ambition can get you anywhere you want to go,” said #SmilesForBostonHeroes winner Naomie. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
We couldn’t agree more, Naomi.
Our second honoree, Kanella Christopulos, is a speech pathologist who has helped Covid-19 patients restore health to their virus-damaged lungs and deliver speech therapy to patient recovering from intubation. Kanella was awarded a $1,500 prize to use towards furthering her career.
“When you walk into a rehab patient’s hospital room for the first time, you are about to meet a person that is likely going through the hardest obstacle they’ve ever had to face. We bring with us discouraging and inevitable news that we don’t have a magic pill to fix it all,” said Kanella. “At these times, I’ve found having a smile in your ‘toolbox’ never fails. It’s simple and intuitive; a smile provides a sense of compassion, positivity, and hope. And at that moment, it might be just what the doctor ordered.”
In summary, crises will show up unannounced and can wreak often heart-breaking havoc. But there is also beauty to be found in the selfless giving of those of us in our community. Recognizing these quiet heroes can be a true silver lining for all.
About Charles Sutera, DMD, FAGD
Dr. Sutera , FAGD, is a doctor of dental medicine, TMJ specialist, board-certified in moderate dental anesthesiology, and renowned for high profile cosmetic dental reconstructions. He has been featured in numerous national publications, radio interviews, and television appearances. His practice, Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction is located in the Boston metro area