Yoselin B. takes her role as big sister to her younger brother Omar very seriously. Along with her family, she works hard every day to make sure Omar has access to everything he needs. Most recently, her family set their sights on getting Omar braces. At 11 years old he’s at the right age to start the process and is in desperate need.
But with only one parent able to work, Yoselin knew her family would not be able to afford the cost of orthodontia. So she applied for public aid on behalf of her brother and took him to several consultations at different offices around Winnetka in hopes of finding someone who’d be willing to help the family pay for the braces. But, unfortunately, every time they were turned away.
As a last resort, Yoselin had an idea. She had begun using Nextdoor a few months back after hearing about it from a friend. Although she mainly used it to hunt for free and for sale items, she knew it was a great way to source recommendations from neighbors. So she posted a message to Nextdoor asking her neighbors if they knew of any other programs or grants that could help her family pay for the orthodontia. She included a photo of Omar’s most recent dental images so that her neighbors would understand his dire need.
The post soon caught the attention of Emily Z., a nearby neighbor from Nextdoor HW Circle. Emily replied to Yoselin’s post suggesting she start a GoFundMe page, which Yoselin did right away. Emily donated to it, and then shared the GoFundMe link with other neighbors on Nextdoor. Just 18 hours later, a friend of Emily’s named Leslie had a chance meeting with a makeup artist whose day job was to handle the finances for a local Winnetka orthodontist. Leslie showed her the Nextdoor post about Omar, and the makeup artist in turn shared the story with the orthodontist, Dr. Patrick Brady.
As it turns out, Dr. Brady’s wife had also seen the Nextdoor post and had already been thinking about how they could help. The support from the community was the extra push they needed, and the next day Omar and Yoselin were invited in for a consultation. After examining Omar’s teeth, Dr. Brady and his practice – Brady and Ford Orthodontics – made a decision that would change Omar’s life. They decided to give Omar braces, free of charge.
Everyone in the community knew that a beautiful smile would help this boy’s future immensely. And Yoselin’s family could not have been more overjoyed. “We cried when we found out they’d be giving him the braces for free,” said Yoselin. “We were so overwhelmed and so grateful to everyone who helped us. We have an amazing community.”
Omar had his first appointment in late January, and received his braces on Valentine’s Day. According to Yoselin, it was the best Valentine’s Day yet.