Making a Difference… Kristen’s Story


What a difference a year makes. Kristen Hills spent the better part of a decade with severe dental problems. There were many days when she could only eat soft foods, such as Jello and mashed potatoes.

“It was very painful. When I used to talk to people, my top teeth, they used to cut my lips up.”

While the physical pain was challenging enough, the psychological discomfort was even worse. Kristen’s teeth impacted how she felt about herself.

“Sometimes I’d just sit at home and would not even want to go to church,” said Kristen. “I was afraid people would laugh at me and make fun of me.”

The Arc of Florida received a special appropriation from the Florida Legislature during the 2012 Legislative Session that funded much-needed dental services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kristen was eager to have her teeth fixed. Today, not only does she have a new set of teeth, Kristen has the confidence to sing in two choirs at church.

“To me, she’s more happy,” said Everine Hills, Kristen’s mother. “She’s always smiling. She smiles a lot.”