A SMILE TO REMEMBER Written by Deepali Jay Brahmbhatt
The energy was inspiring and felt throughout the room during a most magical evening as I joined over 200 attendees for the 2nd annual Smiles for Hope Gala, held on September 16, 2019 at The Lighthouse Knoxville.
Smiles for Hope is a charity founded in 2017 by Dr. Smita Barole, D.D.S. This charity started as a vision for restoring the teeth of women who found themselves in unfortunate situations stemming from domestic violence and/or drug use resulting in dental complications for which they had no help. Dr. Barole was approached by the YWCA to provide temporary yet urgent dental care for its residents, but she quickly realized that these women, as well as hundreds of others like them, were limited as to where they could receive dental care in the community. Dr. Barole not only recognized this gap and lack of resources, but she became determined to do whatever she could to help these women in need.
She decided to establish the Smiles for Hope charity, aptly named, as it gave hope to women who once felt they had none. As founder and president, her vision is now a reality where she and her team of volunteers has empowered over 300 women with beautiful smiles they can be proud of. Her entire team donates their time and efforts towards this extraordinary cause, totaling nearly $250,000 in costs of dentistry to date, provided free of charge. The gala was an absolute success where 100% of the donations will be used directly towards helping these women. Smiles for Hope has a mission; to provide free dental care to women in need, to rebuild self-esteem and hope. Smiles for Hope gives these women a fighting chance towards rebuilding their lives not only for themselves but also for their children, families and their communities.
This beautiful journey has resulted in an awe-inspiring partnership between Dr. Barole and YWCA, where she dedicates one Saturday per month to work her magic. She has also collaborated with Susanna’s House and Dr. Craig Towers, MD, a high-risk OB/GYN with The University of Tennessee Medical Center. This year’s gala sponsors, Mital D. Patel, Attorney at Law and East Tennessee Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, P.C made this incredible night possible. The evening ended with Dr. Barole’s words resonating through the hall as we held back our tears listening to
“One woman at a time, one smile at a time…we have seen the tears and we have seen the transformation…that may be their past but their future will be different.”