S.T.E.P.S. Program gives gift of new smile

BOISE - Six On Your Side first told you about a new program at the Interfaith Sanctuary shelter in Boise a couple of weeks ago.

It's a program aimed at better addressing the root problems of homelessness.

Ernest Garcia has come along way from when he was a guest at Interfaith Sanctuary years ago. He's since moved on and even happens to work at the shelter as the maintenance manager now.

However, Garcia didn't make it to this point on his own and attributes part of his success to the new S.T.E.P.S. Program that he's a graduate of.

"[The S.T.E.P.S. program] It's the only way to get from point A to point B and stay there," he said.

Once signed up, you're assigned a case manager who sees you through the entire process.

As part of his completion, Garcia received a brand new set of teeth thanks to a local dentist who wanted to give back.

"It's nice when people feel assured that they can smile and joke, I think," said Dr. Troy Clovis, Benchmark Family Dentistry. "I don't know if it really affects their personality but it effects how we perceive them."

The lack of a smile on someone's face, who is trying to hide missing teeth, could be perceived as not so friendly.

If there was ever a doubt before with regards to Garcia, there's no hiding how he truly feels now. He hopes others will follow in his footsteps.

"If people stick with it and actually want to get out of the shelter, it will work," Garcia concluded. "The only thing is that we have people who don't really have that desire and that could be a mental health problem, which we're trying to help them with that too."

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