Monday, November 26, 2012

East Valley orthodontist collects 1.5 tons of candy for troops

Re-Print: The Republic | Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:45 PM
Candy is largely a no-no to dentists, but a local orthodontist made it a yes-yes by collecting it for troops overseas and rewarding some schools and individuals with cash.

In all, Dr. Tyler Robison, owner of Robison Orthodontics in Mesa and Gilbert, collected a whopping 3 tons of candy from 73 schools and dispensed $7,345, including a $1,000 bonus to Centennial Elementary School in Higley for donating the most candy at 201 pounds.  And he collected most of it in one day. Click Here for more information on Mesa Orthodontist Dr. Tyler Robison.

The Candy Buy Back program is part of a post-Halloween tradition he started eight years ago after he spent some time in the service.
From The Mesa Orthodontist

“As an orthodontist I saw how candy can damage both the braces, by breaking them off, and the teeth causing cavities,” Robison said. “So the less our patients had, the better off they’d be. As a major in the Army Reserve, I thought I’d give my fellow soldiers a treat and spread out the candy to many instead of a few kids eating a ton of it.

“When the program became a huge success, we opened it up to the community and decided to match donations we were giving the kids with their respective schools as well.”

The haul, office manager Kris Kellis said, represented a 25percent increase over last’s year’s Candy Buy Back drive. Robison paid $2 a pound to individuals for up to 4 pounds of candy and to families for up to 8 pounds.

In addition, schools could sign up for matching grants.

The non-profit uses the candy in packages of personal and hygiene items that are sent to the troops overseas, Kellis said.

“The moms didn’t want the candy in the house after Halloween. Our Candy Buy Back program is only held on the workday following Halloween. Dr. Robison pays the children with gold $1 coins. The children leave our offices with money in their pockets and a new toothbrush,” Kellis said. “The parents, teachers, and dentists appreciate the lower sugar intake.”

Kellis said the program began as an incentive for Robison’s patients, “but soon expanded to neighborhoods and to the matching funds  program through the schools. We had parents and children coming to our offices in Mesa and Gilbert this year who found us on Google.”

“We store this candy in packing boxes that line the halls, walls, and every nook and cranny in our offices until it is picked up,” she said.

Centennial’s total donation nearly doubled that of last year’s $1,000 bonus winner, Mesa’s Ishikawa Elementary, which contributed 109 pounds, Kellis said. In addition, Centennial earned $402 for the candy it donated.

“Centennial worked really hard to earn the bonus money,” she said. “The PTO sent home multiple fliers, sent out e-mails through the school lists, neighborhood lists, mommy groups, newsletters and Facebook.”
Robison and 15 other dentists and orthodontists are part of the Smiles Back Foundation, which his wife, Kristen, started in 2001 to help provide dental treatment to needy youngsters. Twice a year the foundation gives “scholarships” to four youngsters that are worth a year’s worth of exams and services.
Kids can apply throughout the year and must be willing to write a testimonial on how their new smiles changed their lives. Information: 480-615-8888 or

With the holidays approaching, Robison Orthodontics has launched another campaign to help troops overseas.

He is collecting additional donations for Packages From Home and is looking for boxer shorts and white T-shirts in all sizes, flavored drink mixes, coffee singles, plastic squeezable jelly, peanut butter in plastic containers (16-18 ounces), canned fruit (15-18 ounces) and crackers in sleeves.
Robison has offices at 1635 N. Greenfield, Mesa (Click Here For Mesa Map), and 1355 S. Higley Road, Gilbert(Click Here For Gilbert Map).