Fresno girl awarded free braces

FRESNO, Calif.

Perla wasn't sure why she was being escorted across campus at Baird Middle School in Northeast Fresno. The 7th grader was overwhelmed by the attention.

Delgado received a $5,480 scholarship from the local Smile for a Lifetime chapter. Perla said she applied because she wanted braces.

"Because my teeth are really crooked and I wanted a better smile," Perla said.

Perla's proud parents were on hand for the surprise announcement. Twelve lucky kids in the Valley will earn free braces this school year.

Smile for a Lifetime chapter president Mischelle DiCiccio said, "We got several letters of recommendation that showed she was responsible and that she was committed to working hard. She loves to go volunteer and volunteering is a big portion of the smiles for lifetime program."

Scholarship winners are required to put in 40 hours of community service but Perla's got a head start. Perla explained, "I used to go volunteer in the summertime at a place called the Holy center for women. We clean the center for the women and then I pass out food for them."

Baird teacher Patricia Robillard wrote a letter of recommendation for Perla. She said, "She very much deserves it. She is a very hard worker and she has high goal and high motivation and to see her gain her some more self-confidence is what I want for her."

Mischelle DiCiccio's husband Pat is an orthodontist, who along with other members of Smile for a Lifetime, donate their time. She said, "Pat was given the gift of braces by a local orthodontist, which totally changed his life and because of that he wanted to pay it forward."

Perla now has even more reason to flash her pretty smile.

Smile for a Lifetime continues to take scholarship applications for free braces. To apply click on the link below visit

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