Denver program helps students get into college, gives them free braces

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DENVER -- Dozens of Denver area high school students are getting mentors to help them get into college and braces for free.

The program is called Minds Matter. It helps smart, high-achieving high school students, who come from families without a lot of money.

Minds Matter provides students with mentors help them get into college and get scholarship money to pay for it. In fact, 100 percent of its students get accepted into college with a scholarship.

"I think it’s the type of program that will bring about generational change here in Colorado," Dr. Anil Idiculla, from i-Orthodontics, told FOX31.

Dr. Idiculla heard about Minds Matter a few years ago from a friend.  He wanted to help the successful students, so for the last two years he's been offering sophomores in the program free braces, if they need them.

"If we can impact youth and we can give students the gift of a smile they might not be able to afford or they think they had access to, we think that’s going to open up a lot of doors professionally and personally the rest of their lives," Dr. Idiculla said.

This year, one of those students he's helping is Ayla Sanchez.

"I’ll be laying in bed and my teeth are out of place and I’m like, 'that’s not healthy,'" Sanchez said, talking about how her teeth have been bothering her.

She and her mother hadn't had the money to see an orthodontist, but now they don't have to worry about the cost.

"Honestly, I really think it is an awesome gift that I am getting," Sanchez said of the braces.

After her examination, Dr. Idiculla said she'll need braces and will have to wear them for about 10 months.

After that, Sanchez will be able to focus on getting into college and not her teeth hurting her.

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