GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Dr. Christopher Frigo does more than straighten teeth, he mentors his patients and talks to them about the importance of volunteering.
"Kids really look up to orthodontists and I'm really proud of that fact," Frigo said. "It gives us the opportunity to serve as a role model and say hey if we can do it, you can do it and you can start at a younger level."
But he also wants to spread the message by setting an example and giving to those who cannot afford braces. He joined the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation which offers free braces for doing community service.
"There is a whole number of opportunities available for kids to take advantage of and then in turn they get their braces placed at no charge, so this is a really unique opportunity," Frigo said. "It's the only one like it in the state, we are the first to set it up in the state of Mississippi."
Social Media and Marketing Coordinator Elise Doran said, "There's not certain projects we give them to do, they can volunteer at a shelter. They can volunteer at a vet clinic they can help out with the troops, sending things to the troops."
Doran is helping spearhead the project and believes that by allowing patients to chose how they volunteer it may inspire them to continue community service long after they get their braces off.
"It just creates good people and you want everyone to be in the community and be involved and just create a great atmosphere to live in," Doran said.
"When I was a kid I didn't have someone show me hey how you give back," Frigo said. "I'm trying to put some structure to it so that kids can know where to go when they want to give back. They can come to us and say, 'Hey how can I give back? Where can I go to help get involved in the community.'"
This is the first year Dr. Frigo's office has been involved in the program and they hope to accept six applicants. Click here to learn more information about the program or to check out their volunteer calendar and get involved.