The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation (AACDCF) has received the 2018 Mary Byron Project Celebrating Solutions Award in honor of the work it has done for adults who have suffered dental injuries from domestic and sexual violence.
The Mary Byron Project fosters innovations and strategies to end domestic violence. This is the sixteenth year that it has bestowed the award, which showcases innovations that demonstrate promise in breaking the cycle of intimate partner violence.
National and local experts help select programs they believe serve as models for the nation for the awards. Each winning program receives $10,000 in restricted funds. To date, the Mary Byron Project has awarded more than $1 million to innovative programs in 30 states.
AACD member dentists, dental laboratories, and other dental professionals have volunteered their time and expertise pro bono to restore the damaged smiles of more than 1,700 survivors of intimate partner violence for a total dollar value of more than $16 million as part of its Give Back a Smile (GBAS) program.
Now in its twentieth year, GBAS helps survivors such as Dawn, who woke up in a hospital with a fractured skull, broken ribs, a scarred face, and destroyed teeth after she was abused by her partner. She lost her job and her self-respect and was ashamed of the way she looked for years.
However, Dawn received treatment after a domestic abuse advocate had told her about GBAS. Now, she is getting her degree in counseling and working toward her dream of advocating on behalf of other women who are trapped in abusive relationships.
“GBAS gave me back the dignity my abuser had robbed me of. I no longer look in the mirror and see a tarnished woman. I see a beautiful smile and light in that woman’s eyes. I have become the selfie queen!” Dawn said.
The AACDCF encourages dental professionals to get involved by:
- Donating online to GBAS
- Becoming a volunteer
- Joining the Whitening Challenge
- Participating in the GBAS Silent Auction
- Learning how to help someone experiencing domestic violence
The AACDCF also is hosting a celebration in the Skybox in San Diego during the thirty-fifth annual AACD Scientific Session on Thursday, April 25 from 8 to 10 pm. Open to the public, the event will benefit survivors or domestic and sexual violence through GBAS.