CHANGE A SMILE, CHANGE A LIFE
The mission of Smiles Beyond the Bars (Smiles) is to embrace the formerly incarcerated men and women who have begun the process of changing their lives. Smiles does so by working closely with the finest team of dentist professionals to give these deserving recipients the gift of a new smile.
Through a network of dental professionals and labs, Smiles has helped more than 210 formerly incarcerated recipients in Arizona whose teeth have suffered the effects of drugs, poverty and prison. With close to $1 million in dental procedures contributed annually since 2009, Smiles recipients have successfully transitioned into society resulting in a 0.1% recidivism rate and has saved nearly $7.5 million in Arizona tax payer’s dollars not going towards incarceration costs.
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A SMILE DEDICATED TO CHRIST
“I smile because God gave me a second chance and Smiles Beyond The Bars is a big part of this.” Pastor Stas spends his days serving as the Associate Pastor at Phoenix World Outreach Church and works closely with the homeless outreach programs. His parishioners are greeted by his joyful smile. A smile that has always been beautiful on the inside and now is just as beautiful on the outside. A smile that shows the happiness that comes with being given a second chance at life.
Pastor Stas recently became a recipient of Smiles Beyond The Bars. He is currently in the middle of his dental journey and just recently received his first set of temporary implants.
Here he sits smiling with the dental staff who gave him the new smile just minutes after coming out of surgery. For the first time in a long time, he doesn’t have the pain and discomfort so often associated with the need for dental work.
“My dental work not only improved my appearance, but it also greatly improved my health. I was suffering from chronic pain, infection and the inability to enjoy a simple meal. I suffered from migraines and my eternal health was being affected.”
Not anymore! While Pastor Stas has a long dental road ahead, his excellent team, Dr. Jennifer Bayer and Dr. Robert Guyette, are with him every step of the way!
“It has been a new lease on life. Everyday I look in the mirror and can honestly say that I am not ashamed of what I see. I am still early in the program and I believe the opportunities are just beginning.”
However, this wasn’t always the case. As a troubled child, Pastor Stas discovered drugs at a very young age, resulting in a long battle with drug use which ultimately led to spending time in prison.
“I ended up losing my sons over my foolishness and I was on a total path of distraction, even suicidal at one point. That’s when the Lord finally spoke to me. I heard, ‘is this how I want my sons to remember me?’ I knelt on the ground and dedicated my life to Christ. This was the beginning of a new life.”
Smiles Beyond The Bars focuses on giving recipients like Pastor Stas a new chance at life. Giving recipients the confidence to smile opens up a world of opportunities.
“This program has transformed lives. It’s a program of restoration. It’s a program of hope, where hope was lost. It’s amazing how a new smile can restore one’s self esteem.”