What is CODE:SMiLE?
CODE:SMiLE is a nonprofit organization established to facilitate healthy dialogue and character building skills in young adults. Dr. Demko believes true beauty radiates from within, and the most beautiful smiles begin on the inside. Our goal at CODE:SMiLE is to collaborate with inspirational mentors and parents to teach young adults that differences and personal struggles don’t need to define their lives, but can actually make them stronger leaders in their communities and beyond.
Middle and early high school was difficult for Dr. Demko, because like many teens, she had to overcome hurdles such as a learning disability, weight issues, peer pressure, and bullies. Her father worked to instill particular values of strength and confidence, despite the issues that Jackie faced on a daily basis. And each value was accompanied by a personal story, which only made it more powerful.
Taking a cue from her father, Dr. Demko often shares her own stories in her private practice. Patients are able to take the lessons from her struggles and find the inspiration to handle their own issues, while parents appreciate the candor and effort to provide more than just dental work. After seeing the success of this practice and wanting to create more impact, Dr. Demko held the first CODE: SMiLE event on April 15, 2008. Families from her practice and other members of the public were invited to hear the stories of three local celebrities (McGraw Milhaven, Heather Hawk and David Vabora).
After the first event, Demko Orthodontics was contacted by Bronx Diba Shoes who wanted to donate to her cause. And from that call, CODE:SMiLE has grown into a full fledged non-profit organization.
One of the most exciting additions to CODE:SMiLE has been the shuttle service, generously donated by Demko Orthodontics. Prior to the pandemic, the service was offered to approximately 25 schools in the Washington, Missouri area, where students were picked up from school, brought to the office for their routine short appointments, and returned after their treatment.
This particular Hummer is only one of four remaining of its kind. It is a National Geographic Endorsed Desert Storm Tour H1 Hummer and was used for desert night vision excursion tours. The 11 passenger Hummer with stadium style seating has been outfitted with an onboard camera to allow parents to make sure their children made it to the vehicle and to their appointments.
CODE:SMiLE is actively looking for more partnerships and is planning more events centered around bringing self-esteem and smiles to the St. Louis metro area and eventually worldwide. In addition to funding the Hummer transportation program, Demko Orthodontics has already donated more than ten thousand dollars in treatments to CODE:SMiLE.
Donations to CODE:SMiLE can be made by contacting Dr. Demko’s office at 314.576.4955.