We're all about building community


The Olympic Games always inspire me. Strangely, this Winter Olympics inspired me to read a book. The book is Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence. This little Vermont town of about 3000 has sent 11 of their kids to the Olympics and won three medals. That is equal to the medal count of Spain and New Zealand combined. How do they do it? Let me quote from the book:

Norwich parents “treat sports as a family bonding exercise. They attend their children’s activities but they are easy to overlook because they remain in the background. They praise effort, not results, and send a loud and clear message that community trumps competition by embracing the success of children other than their own.” [emphasis mine]

Community trumps competition? That’s just crazy talk. Except their kids not only compete at the highest level in their sport, they finish college, get good jobs, and many return to the town that instilled those values so that they too can raise their children in that culture. I want that for my kids more than an Olympic medal. The message gets sent to us parents that in a dog eat dog world you need to train your kid to be the better dog eater. What would happen if in our network of friends we instilled this notion that community trumps competition? If you think that would turn your kids into doormats for the cutthroat world out there the parents of Norwich would like to have words with you. They’d like to, but they are probably too busy planning a welcome home party for one of their athletes.

We're all about you

We’re all about celebrating your success!

Here’s a happy story coming out of DRO: Get your braces at DRO, wear your retainer, and you too can play basketball for the University of Michigan!  Of course practicing hard, being 6 foot 7 and having a lot of talent probably helped Isaiah Livers but we think his smile is pretty great too. The Kalamazoo Central High School Graduate received the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award for 2017 and now plays for U of M. ESPN called him a “huge in-state prize for head coach John Beilein” and “a difficult match up on the perimeter for less mobile power forwards.”

At DRO we like to encourage kids to stay active. That’s why there is a bicycle on our t-shirts, why we sponsor Girls on The Run, and why you see posts of our staff being active. We can’t all be as talented as Isaiah, but don’t let that stop you from riding a bike, going for a run, or shooting hoops with your friends.


We're all about being THANKFUL for TEACHERS!

Teachers don’t get enough credit. I get worn out with my three; multiply that by almost 10, add a pretty significant agenda and BAM!, you have a teacher’s daily routine.  It’s even possible that not all children are as well behaved as mine (cough), so I have a lot of respect for someone who chooses teaching as their profession. I recently spent lunch supervising my daughter’s first grade spanish immersion class at Kalamazoo Christian. Who’s up for a few rounds of hangman en espanol? [Answer: Pick me!]

So what can we do to help? Some of you volunteer your time on a regular basis, many of us express our appreciation whenever we see our kids teacher, but is there something more we can do. While I work on ways to answer that personally, I’ve decided to launch a regular teacher appreciation event here at Drake Road Orthodontics. I’m asking my patients to write a short essay explaining why their teacher is so great and deserves to be recognized. We will collect the essays, pick a winner and give that teacher a dinner for two at Nonla Vietnamese Street Food in Mattawan. Never heard of them? They are only number 22 on Yelp’s top 100 restaurants IN THE COUNTRY! Check them out here http://www.nonlavietnamesestreetfood.com/ . We’ll also throw in something extra to buy things for the classroom! To kick off this new program I’m going to introduce you to a recent patient Mr. Tim McMillen. Tim left a very successful career in financial advising to go back to school and become a teacher (yep, really). He currently is a math teacher at Kalamazoo Country Day School. If you are in Mr. McMillen’s class pay attention. Not only will he make sure your math skills are up to snuff, he might just throw in an investment tip for extra credit! Thank you, thank you Mr. Tim McMillen!

We're all about your GOOD NEWS!

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I’m only exaggerating slightly when I say watching the news crushes... my... soul. Ugh. Local bad news followed by national bad news with international bad news frosting on top. I’ve stopped watching the news on TV and instead turn to the internet: no better!  I guess it at least gives me the option to just stop at the headline.  But you know, there ARE good stories out there.  For instance; did you know Dr. Mark Richardson, a local dentist, travels to Honduras every year to donate his services? And Dr. Brad Randall (my brother-in-law) recently held a health fair and gave away free dental services to disadvantaged people in our own community? And that’s just a couple dentists I know and have been able to help with their projects in a small way. And I’m pretty sure we don’t need to look any farther than our DRO family for feel good stories about people helping out a friend in need. So this is my desperate plea: PLEASE PROVE ME RIGHT! I am sure there are people doing the right thing, making a difference, letting their light shine, and coming to DRO for their ortho care. We want to know your stories (moms and dads we are asking you to brag!). Tell us what you are doing to “shine a light” and with your permission we will write it up and post it on our website. You can either drop a hint to one of our staff or go to Drakeroadortho.com, click on the contact us tab and give us a few details in the form at the bottom of the page.  If we don’t talk about the good stuff how will we know it isn’t all doom and gloom?

Pure Michigan LOVE

We closed the clinic for the week of July 4th to give my wonderful staff a much needed break. I fell in love with the mountains when I was stationed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado so for this vacation my husband and I packed up our three kids and spent the week getting our fix of the mountains. While we were there I kept thinking about how I had always assumed that when I was done with my military service I would end up back in Colorado. Why didn’t that happen? Michigan is not Colorado. Sand dunes aside we don’t have much in the way of mountains and with all due respect to our local ski resorts people don’t come from around the world to ski our runs. But you know what? Colorado ain’t no Michigan either. Our Colorado friends buy blueberries by the pint while we enjoy them in a ten pound box. They have a few streams and rivers that they dam up for drinking water and we have a lake every couple miles. I still love Colorado, but Dorothy was onto something: There’s no place like home!

We're All About Summer

I am - with a certain degree of confidence - ready to say that winter is over (this is Michigan so who knows). My winter-long teeth chattering grimace is now being replaced by a genuine smile! That smile is due partly to the warm sunshine and partly to all the fun things I am anticipating. Chicago thinks southwest Michigan is a playground and we are lucky enough to live here full-time. From the asparagus and rhubarb in the spring to the late apples in the fall we have a constant supply of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Grab the kids and pick some for yourself. Kalamazoo has a near endless supply of festivals. Some of them may not be your thing but if Reggae music doesn’t make you happy your smile needs more than braces!  

We all fall into our routine and obviously there are things that have to get done. But make it a point to enjoy the weather, enjoy the place you live, and enjoy the people you love!

We're All About Physics

Forces, vectors, and enough math to make most people shiver. Honestly, I always found it kind of interesting. That’s probably a good thing since physics is behind everything in this orthodontics game - vectoring those teeth around your mouth to get them right where we want them. But did you know orthodontics is a team sport? That’s right. You are not a spectator in this Chess game with physics. The only way to win is if we work together. Those rubber bands are not just more bling for your cool smile, they provide the pull those crazy physics laws require. So play your position and STRAP ON THOSE RUBBER BANDS!

The Selfish Thank You

A few years ago a study was done on gratitude. People were asked to write a thank you letter to someone in their life. The researchers then measured the happiness of the person who received the thank you. The person who got the letter was happier for days. No shock. The surprise? The person who WROTE the thank you was happier for a month! So I guess it’s selfish to be appreciative?! Anyway, at DRO we’d like to capitalize on this. We are going to stock thank you cards at the front desk. If you’d like to write a thank you note to someone in your life and you have their address why not spend the few minutes in our waiting room letting them know how you feel? The postage is on us. Besides, you get the better end of the deal anyway!


In an effort to better serve you and create an even more enjoyable experience, we at Drake Road Orthodontics have created a new brand that continues and clarifies our vision. This new brand focuses on what is important to us – you. We want to continue to provide an inclusive and fun environment, coupled with the highest quality care, that will allow you to not only love the outcome of your beautiful smile, but your entire journey along the way. We are all about making your braces experience uniquely yours. We’re all about you.

Thanks for stopping by our new blog. Check back here for tips on how to best work with us to get the results you want, and maybe a few posts designed to make you use that new smile! We’re excited to continue providing top-notch care with an even greater focus and to continue to serve our awe-inspiring community of Kalamazoo