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Saint Joseph Berea Foundation Brought a Smile to Her Face

May 24, 2022 Posted in: Stories of Giving  1 minute read time

Brooke Callahan can’t stop smiling, and it’s giving her more confidence than ever before.

“I am more willing to smile showing my teeth now,” she said. “I don’t feel like, whenever I’m talking with somebody, they’re judging me based on my teeth.”

Brooke, a 27-year-old mother of two in Madison County, was insecure because of the gaps in her mouth, thinking other people would judge her negatively. When she and her family began the process with Habitat for Humanity of Madison & Clark Counties, the agency connected her to the Saint Joseph Berea Foundation, which helped to pay for the dental work Brooke needed to regain her smile and her confidence through the Henrietta Childs Fund that supports medical and dental needs of Berea and southern Madison County residents.

Her dental problems started when she was a teenager. She had multiple dental procedures, including removal of wisdom teeth, braces and extra teeth, one of which was growing in the roof of her mouth. Every time the orthodontists tightened the braces, they had to pull the canine tooth down. When her braces were removed, there was a gap in her teeth. She didn’t like the retainer they gave her to hide the gap, so she stopped wearing it. 

Brooke went back and forth with confidence, wearing the retainer and not wearing it. Then she started to have more problems. Her teeth started breaking when she was pregnant with her daughter, now 7. 

Brooke Callahan

Postpartum depression exacerbated her lack of interest in caring for her teeth. When her son, now 5, was born, Brooke hit her “lowest of lows,” and leaned on her husband for basic self-care. She even asked, “What’s the point of brushing my teeth when I don’t have a good smile?”

Then that fortuitous connection and her road to a new smile, which came in late January 2022.

After the surgery, "I was smiling left and right. I don’t think anybody could have ruined that day,” she said. “I haven’t had a real smile in such a long time.”

Her experience showed her that a smile connects you with opportunities. Now, Brooke is attending Sullivan University where she is working toward an associate degree in business management on a career path in human resources. 

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