Staff Report

The smile of a child is known to light up a room; however, some children never get to experience that feeling. Some are ashamed of their smiles and carry that burden with them into adulthood. Dr. Michael Hess and Dr. Toby VanLandschoot are working to change that. Through Smile for a Lifetime Foundation, they are providing the gift of a beautiful smile to children who need it most. They are proud to announce their new chapter; The Hess & VanLandschoot Orthodontics Branch of Smile for a Lifetime-Hillsborough and Manatee County, will provide eight scholarships to recipients in the Riverview, Lithia, Apollo Beach, and Parrish areas.

Founded in 2008, the Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization that provides orthodontic care to individuals who may not have the opportunity to acquire assistance. The Foundation is built on the principal of creating self-confidence, inspiring hope, and changing the lives of children in a dramatic way. They believe that the gift of a smile can do all this for a deserving individual who can use this gift to better themselves and their community.

“Our goal is to reach children in our communities who have not had the opportunity to get orthodontic help because of income, parents with illness or other family issues that may put the need for braces on the back burner,” Marketing Director, Samantha McGuire stated. Local care is provided by Dr. Michael Hess and Dr. Toby VanLandschoot of the Riverview, Lithia, Valrico, Apollo Beach, Brandon and Parrish areas. Collectively the doctors will award eight scholarships in 2017.

“By improving the smiles and self-confidence of a child today, it will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives,” commented Dr. Hess.

Any child over age 12 is eligible to apply for a scholarship from the Foundation, which will provide orthodontic services from beginning to end. Each applicant must fill out an application, provide letters of recommendation, prove to be a responsible individual and show how they’ve participated in community. Approximately two scholarships are given out quarterly. Applications are being accepted until March 31 for the first quarter of 2017, but applicants are encouraged to apply year round and to re-apply if they don’t get selected in the initial process. “The Foundation allows us to streamline the process of helping those in need and we’re able to reach more people this way,” explained Dr. VanLandschoot. “It’s extremely rewarding for both Dr. Hess and I and our team as well.” For information contact Samantha McGuire at Hess & VanLandschoot Orthodontics at 645-4377. The main office is 11970 Boyette Rd. in Riverview. Visit

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