City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Smiles Charity

Changing the World One Home, One Family at a Time

How do we thank someone who has given the ultimate sacrifice? That was the question McKinney orthodontist Dr. Jennifer Buchanan asked herself back in 1999. The answer was simple- make them smile.

“There is such a need. Veterans are used to being independent and do not usually ask for help.  In fact, veterans are so humble that when you offer help, they always feel someone else deserves it more than they do,” states Dr. Buchanan. “Smiles Charity helps takes away the burden of paying for their home and gives them one less thing to worry about.”

The concept for Smiles Charity goes back to 1999 when Dr. Buchanan and a collection of dentists would host “Smiles” skating parties for patients and funds raised went to Habitat for Humanity. After the skating rink closed, they started hosting “Smiles” karaoke parties. In 2008 Dr. Buchanan moved her orthodontic practice to Adriatica, which allowed space for an annual community-centered concert. In 2010 after one of Dr. Buchanan’s first patients was killed while serving our nation in Afghanistan, Smiles Charity was formed, with all funds raised being used to build mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans. Since the pandemic, Smiles Charity has pivoted direction once again and now secures funds at an annual sponsorship event and smaller local partnership events rather than the community-centered concert.

Smiles Charity has built 16 mortgage-free homes for deserving families in Collin County. With ongoing supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic, the organization has shifted from building mortgage-free homes to paying off mortgages of the recipients. Everyone involved with Smiles Charity is on a volunteer basis so 100 percent of its net proceeds go to helping wounded veterans.

A committee comprised of mostly retired veterans helps select the yearly recipients. Dr. Buchanan describes the members as people with loving and giving hearts who are involved within the veteran circle and know who is in need. Recipients must live in Collin County and the committee uses a very thorough process when making their selection.

For 2022, funds raised allowed the committee to select two mortgage recipients.

•                Sgt. Jay Liske joined the Army in 2004. His disabilities include three herniated lumbar discs, TBI, and PTSD. He has honorably discharged in March 2010. He was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in 2018 and now is in remission. Jay lives with his wife and two young sons, one of whom was born with brain defects and seizures, in Frisco.  

•                GYSGT Russell Cosner enlisted in the Marines in 1972. He received numerous commendations during his service. During Desert Shield, GYSGT Cosner suffered a traumatic brain injury and was honorably discharged in 1991. Since then, GYSGY Cosner has suffered several TIAs and strokes, has loss of vision, and is 100 percent disabled. He and his wife live in McKinney.

Dr. Buchanan wants to continue to provide homes for our veterans as long as the need is there. Her hopes are to partner with other organizations and bring Smiles Charity to cities nationwide. 

“I want to help more and more veterans,” says Dr. Buchanan. “We are so blessed, and it is good to give back.”

For more information, learn more about past recipients, or how you can help, visit