When I took the position of Library Media Center Specialist 4 years ago, I had a lot of dreams. Winning a National Smile Makeover Contest for someone else was NOT one of them. Sometimes Dreams Come to Us in the Most Unusual Ways.
Happy New Year, 2018! I hope this first blog post of the new year gives you reason to smile. It is the celebration of an almost two-year journey, a dreams-do-come-true story chronicling how our library's presence on social media led to local girl winning a National Smile Makeover Contest in an improbable intersection of circumstances - a New Year's viral video, @giantslibrary on Twitter, and a generous cosmetic dentist (Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein) from NYC. It is the inspirational story of a Smile Makeover for Haley Jordan, a 2012 MHS grad with Giant Dreams, who is well on her way to making them come true.
It has been called the most important human gesture we can give - the smile. In Ron Gutman’s Ted Talk, The Hidden Power of Smiling, he reports that British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars! According to one article, smiling can increase your lifespan by 7 years! Sharing a smile costs nothing and reaps priceless benefits, making Haley's gift much more priceless than the aesthetic value alone.
Put aside the latest political press about Twitter. This tale is a testament to the powerful capability of social media for good. Haley’s story inspired Dr. Rubinshtein, and in turn, his spirit of giving inspires others to give back as well. His own version of Haley’s Smile Makeover has over 60,000 views!
Just after New Year’s 2016, Dr. Rubinshtein’s Smile Makeover Contest had gone viral. As Marion High School’s Library Media Specialist, I saw the video on Twitter; a young dentist was offering a life-changing opportunity, the chance for a new smile. Immediately, I KNEW who could use that makeover, a former Marion High School alumni, who was part of a rising new YouTube sensation, The Fitness Marshall, consisting of three Marion grads, Bria McCarty (2011), Haley, and its creator, Caleb Marshall (2011). I went to work on my entry. It would be a long shot; after all, this was a national contest; there would be thousands of entries. I ended my letter with:Haley is beautiful, inside and out. While she’s working her way through college, she is gaining recognition as a dancer on a YouTube fitness channel (The Fitness Marshall). Social Media can be a wonderful thing, and while many make comments about her beauty as she dances, there are still those who leave hurtful comments about her teeth.
A 22-year old senior at Ball State University, Haley will have considerable student loans to pay back. In her case, it might make a difference in her self-esteem and future career opportunities as she becomes more popular online... Thank you for offering such a priceless gift and making an immeasurable difference in a life.
Two weeks later, I received a call from NYC - Haley was the winner! I felt like I’d won the lottery! True to his word, Dr. Rubinshtein paid for Haley’s travel as well as her dental care as she began traveling between Indiana and New York for her dental visits while she attended Ball State University. It wasn’t long after Haley’s braces were put on, that her smile began to change. By Christmas of the following year, it was already beautiful!
While the online popularity of the Fitness Marshall continued to climb, in March of 2016, Haley began her own youtube channel featuring makeup techniques and tips, as well as Vegan cooking segments.
|Dr. Marina Rubinshtein, Haley, Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein|
Between the time of her initial consultation with Dr. Rubinshtein and Haley’s final visit, The Fitness Marshall has achieved star status with over a million subscribers! “Its fans and popularity have grown beyond the groups wildest dreams and has granted Haley a life that once seemed unattainable.”
Jennifer Sherlock of jennacommunications
Jennifer Sherlock of jennacommunications
With a smile that matches her personality and lights up a room, Haley has just published her first cookbook! Get it on Amazon here:) and today is the debut of the Life of a Fitness Popstar, a reality show featuring The Fitness Marshall!
With his Smile Makeover Contest, Dr. Rubinshtein hoped to inspire others to “find ways to integrate your interests and skills with the needs of others.” Although we all may not be in the position to offer such a substantial gift, we are capable of helping others, in both large and small ways. Whatever ‘good’ you do, science, psychology, and the smiles of grateful people say it’s good for you as well as for them.
May 2018 be filled with Giant Dreams and genuine smiles, both ones you give and ones you receive. With one smile, you CAN change your world. Never underestimate its power.
See Haley’s VLOG to hear her reflections about her smile makeover.
Resources on the Positive Effects of a Smile and Giving Back