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Named in honor of our founder, Mrs. Virginia “Gini” Brown, the Gini Awards recognize orthodontic providers, volunteers and individuals who have gone above and beyond to inspire hope, raise self-esteem and help change the lives of children across North America.
An awards ceremony and reception was held Saturday, October 17th, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
In recognition of their outstanding service to children’s oral health, the following individuals and organizations were selected as honorees for the 5th Annual Gini Awards.
“I love treating each patient as an individual, listening to their needs and concerns, and transforming their smile so that it exceeds their expectations.”
In 2014, Dr. Blair Feldman agreed to treat 17 SCL participants in and around his community of Surprise, AZ. Thanks to Dr. Feldman and his staff, 36 month wait period for treatment was eliminated. He has inspired and rekindled hope in children and families who were accepted to the program and had been waiting since 2011 for treatment. His office staff, who is always on top of progress reports and keeping the SCL operations staff informed of updates, are a pleasure to work with.
A part-time professor of Orthodontics at A.T. Still University, through the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, Dr. Feldman brings to the residents a segment on technology and self-ligating braces. Dr. Feldman is a former Honorary Commander and current member of the Blue Blazer Squadron. One of his favorite volunteer activities is being involved with Luke Air Force Base.
“What makes me different from most of my peers is that I come from an artistic side, from the humanities. I think that translates into an aesthetic that matters. ”
Dr. Gregory Oppenhuizen, of Oppenhuizen Orthodontics in Holland, MI, has been a member of the SCL family of provider orthodontists since 2011. He is very engaged in his community and is willing to assist our SCL team in any way he can. In 2014, Dr. Oppenhuizen accepted 6 kids for treatment and has gone above and beyond by treating approved SCL participants living in high need areas outside the greater Holland, MI area. Dr. Oppenhuizen is making a positive impact in his community and within the SCL family. We thank him for going the extra mile in bracing kids for a better future!
Dr. Oppenhiuzen began practicing in Holland, MI in 1985, where he and his partners created the first full time orthodontic practice in the area. He believes that it is important to give back to his profession and the community. He has served as President of the West Michigan Dental Society, the West Michigan Dental Foundation, and the Michigan Association of Orthodontists. He is currently the President of the Great Lakes Association of Orthodontists. Dr. Oppenhiuzen’s personal life adds a unique perspective on his work. He is an avid aquatic diver and photographer. He believes diving can “change your entire perspective on reality”. Dr. Oppenhiuzen also enjoys gardening. As he explains, “It’s in many ways a lot like orthodontics. You start something and then it slowly changes and morphs into something more.”
Since joining SCL’s orthodontic provider family in 2010, Dr. Sanders, of Orthodontics Only in Miami, FL, accepts a minimum of five SCL participants, per year, for treatment. In the high need area of his community in and around Miami FL, he has screened over 15 applicants this calendar year alone, accepting families who must drive over an hour to his office, drastically cutting the waiting list in his area. Dr. Sanders’ staff is well organized and keeps the SCL operations team up to date on each case.
Always willing to help and recruit orthodontic providers, Dr. Sanders is an enthusiastic, dedicated and outstanding SCL orthodontic provider who goes above and beyond in bracing kids for a better future.
“Our children today are our future tomorrow. It is not a fair start for a child or teenager to be embarrassed to smile for fear of showing their crooked teeth or being bullied. We want to support an organization that gives these children a hand up through subsidized, but not free, braces and oral care.” – Joe Sevcik, SVP of Marketing
Assurant Employee Benefit has been supporting SCL since 2013. Their generous grants, donations and community outreach help to strengthen SCL’s mission. Assurant has been providing quality employer and employee-aid benefits and services for more than 100 years. We are honored to have Assurant’s partnership in bracing kids for a better future!
When asked to fill out forms, Steve Hall frequently lists his title as “human being.” That should tell you a lot about his priorities.
For years he turned down offers to join his dad working at Boelte-Hall. His passion was music. Steve finally accepted a temporary job there when one of his fellow band members took time off for surgery.
He learned to sweep the floor, how to print addresses on real estate brochures using a Heidelberg windmill press and many other skills. Much to his surprise, he is still there 40 years later. He says most of his efforts at Boelte-Hall now involve constantly changing what the company does.
Steve has been involved as a leader and volunteer in several printing organizations and software user groups for many years.
He will tell you one of the biggest surprises of his life is that he convinced an award winning television news reporter to marry him. Together they have traveled much of the world by bicycle. For 17 years they led a medical mission trip serving poor Haitian sugar cane cutters and their families in the Dominican Republic. These days they spend a lot of time hiking southwest Colorado and working with the Creede Repertory Theatre.
Though he was twice inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame, he will admit that his high school drum ensemble was defeated on The Original Ted Mack Amateur Hour by a woman who could bend over backwards and pick up a handkerchief with her teeth. Such are the lessons of life.
Steve is a proud father and grandfather and is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.
Mr. Brown has been a member of the SCL Board of Directors since its inception in 2000. His expertise in wealth management and dedication to SCL’s mission has allowed him to be an integral part of the success of SCL.
As a member of the J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s Financial Institutions Principals Group, Mr. Brown provides comprehensive wealth management services including customized investment strategies, traditional and specialty credit facilities, estate, financial and fiduciary solutions, and personal and business banking services. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank in 2014, Mr. Brown spent over 15 years with financial institutions in Florida and New York.
Kelly Family Foundation
The Kelly Family Foundation’s ongoing support of SCL began seven years ago. Their generosity and dedication to SCL’s mission has made a profound impact on children in their community and has played a key role in the organizations success.
Mr. Jerry Kelly is co-chairman and co-founder of Silpada Designs. Established in 1997 with his wife, Bonnie Kelly, and family friend Teresa Walsh, Jerry served as CEO, applying his background in marketing, operations and finance to the business, while Bonnie and Teresa focused on jewelry design and developing the home party experience. Together, they turned their business into one of the most successful direct selling jewelry companies in North America. Jerry received a bachelor of science in business management from the University of Denver and a master of business administration from UMKC.
Ms. Susan Oswalt Gibbons has been a dedicated ambassador for SCL for the past 13 years. Susan served on the Board of Directors for seven years; she was also a key marketing consultant. She continues her support to SCL’s mission and will always be an important member of the SCL family.
Ms. Oswalt Gibbons began her career over 20 years ago working with Fortune 500 Companies in the Consumer Products industry. She spent nearly a decade with the Coca-Cola Company, holding management positions in Sales, Marketing, and Technology. She started her career in Sales for Coca-Cola’s Carbonated Beverage Division in 1986, and later returned to their Minute Maid Division, serving as a Director in their Houston headquarters, before relocating to Kansas City in 2001. She currently owns and operates her own marketing consulting practice, specializing in portfolio planning, brand positioning, marketing spend ROI, and field executive/category management. When she finds a spare minute, she is involved in several associations and charitable boards. She also serves as an adjunct professor teaching Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy.
“I enjoy treating all patients but especially love my kids! I call them ‘my kids’ because I have seen so many grow up through the years and it is such a treat being able to have a part in their lives.”
practices dentistry in Kansas City, KS. Since 2008 he has been referring qualified children to our program. Referring dentists are essential to SCL success, and Dr. Pendleton has proven to be one of our most outstanding Dental Partners.
Dr. Steven D. Pendleton, most commonly known as “Dr. Steve”, is a Kansas City native, graduating graduated from UMKC Dental School in 1998 with a Doctorate Degree in Dental Surgery. In his many years of dentistry, Dr. Steve has loved treating all patients, but especially the kids. “I call them ‘my kids’ because I have seen so many of them grow up through the years and it is such a treat being able to have a part in their lives,” says Pendleton. Dr. Steve has gone on several outreach trips to Venezuela, providing dental care to children in orphanages. He also teaches proper oral hygiene to local schools and has been involved in many programs that offer free dental screenings.
“We refer to SCL because we know our patients will be given the best quality dental care from local providers. Comprehensive orthodontic treatment is sometimes out of reach for our under insured population. This gives them a great opportunity to receive orthodontic care.”
Dr. Louis Pollina of Dentistry for Children in Gladstone and Liberty, MO, has been referring qualified children to the SCL program for the past seven years. Dr. Pollina continues to be one of our most dedicated Dental Partners. He and his staff provide the highest level of care for their patients in the northland of Kansas City, MO. Dr. Pollina was born and raised in the North Kansas City. He completed his DDS degree at University of Missouri-Kansas City and did his residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital. He graduated with honors at the top of his class. Dr. Pollina has worked with Dentistry for Children for eleven years, and recently bought the practice. He is married with four children.
Ms. Ashley Russo
Ms. Ashley Russo has been outstanding member of the SCL volunteer force since February of 2014. Her professionalism, work ethic and personal commitment to SCL’s mission is exceptional and the SCL staff feels very fortunate to have her weekly support. With SCL’s administration staff of nine, volunteers are crucial to the success of the organization. In 2014 alone, volunteers donated over 1275 hours of service. Over 200 of those hours were completed by Gini Honoree, Ms. Ashley Russo. What is most noteworthy about Ashley is how she juggles the demands of school, work, volunteering, friends and family and still remains extremely focused in all aspects of her life. What may be perceived as a challenge by her peers is an opportunity for Ashley to excel both intellectually and socially.
Originally from Branson, MO, Ashley is a 2015 UMKC graduate. With her degree in chemistry, Ashley plans to apply for dental school this summer. SCL is delighted to honor her with this prestigious award.
“Volunteering for SCL has become more than just great opportunity for me to give back to my community. The feeling I have knowing I’m helping to shape children’s lives for the better, is indescribable.”
Dr. Kelly Toombs is SCL’s founding orthodontic provider. Dr. Toombs has been on the SCL Board of Directors since its inception in 1997, and has established a legacy of access to orthodontic care. Dr. Toombs has been the clinical expert, visionary, and leader in all matters related to the creation and expansion of Smiles Change Lives. Dr. Toombs has essentially had a hand in creating a new smile for every child helped through SCL – some 7,000 youth across the US and Canada. Much of SCL’s program model has been developed and refined over the years under Dr. Toombs’ leadership.
In addition to serving on the SCL Board of Directors, Dr. Toombs is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthodontists and has many professional memberships including the American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Southwestern Society of Orthodontists, Kansas Association of Orthodontists, Kansas Dental Association, Greater Kansas City Society of Orthodontists, Fifth District Dental Society (Johnson County) and UMKC Orthodontic Alumni Association. Dr. Toombs attained his Certificate in Orthodontics from UMKC School of Dentistry in 1984.
As a symbol of appreciation of his 18 years of dedication and service, SCL honors Dr. Kelly Toombs the 2015 Distinguished Service Award.