By Lisa Cipriano
Local orthodontist Dr. Brandon Shoukri is considered a real go-getter! But, he’s also a self-proclaimed “go- giver”. These two valuable traits, he says, he learned from growing up in a Chaldean home.
Dr. Shoukri is a Board-Certified Orthodontist who graduated first in his class with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He is active in the American Association of Orthodontists, the Great Lakes Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Association, and the Michigan Dental Association.
“I absolutely love what I do,” Shoukri said.
But, what he equally loves to do is give back to the community through mentoring, teaching at the University of Michigan and also through the ‘Cookies for Courage’ initiative at his Commerce Township practice, Outstanding Orthodontics.
“Dr. Mark Berkman, Dr. Lainie Shapiro, and I have always been committed to giving back to the community along with educating and empowering the young generation,” said Dr. Shoukri.
The doctors look for ways to do that any way they can. And, one of the ways they discovered, is through the Girl Scouts.
“Every year, the other doctors, the office team, and I would always look forward to cookie season. While Dr. Shapiro was a Girl Scout herself; Dr. Berkman and I are inspired by how much work goes into preparing and selling the cookies. They are learning essential entrepreneurial skills at a young age like providing customer service, managing inventory and income, and most importantly setting goals,” explained Shoukri. “We felt that as a practice we could do more to help the Girl Scouts. So, we created the ‘Cookies for Courage’ program,” he continued.
The initiative is a brilliant way to help these business-minded girls and young women reach their sales goals, learn a little about orthodontics and provide a big, loving taste of home to our troops.
“When a troop of Girl Scouts would come to our office, we’d always buy two cases of cookies from them. This would allow them to get closer to their goals in raising money for trips and community projects. We’d also open the doors for them to ask questions, to see what goes on during a normal day at an orthodontic office, and hopefully be inspired to become an orthodontist,” Dr.Shoukri said.
But, while they were doing their part in helping the Girl Scouts reach their sales goals, they’d quite often end up with a lot more cookies than they could handle.
That sparked the rather sweet idea to help the Girl Scouts and give a little boost to our troops’ morale.
“With a number of our patients having families who are active in the military, we thought it would be a great opportunity to give our troops stationed at bases in the U.S. and around the world a taste of great American made cookies,” he explained.
So, the doctors at Outstanding Orthodontics took their idea for ‘Cookies for Courage’ to the best place they knew of to gather support: social media.
“We asked the community to send us addresses of loved ones who are in the military, so we could ship the cases of cookies over to them. We were overwhelmed with responses and just amazed by the positive feedback,” said Dr. Shoukri.
As the names of service members came rolling in, so did uniformed Girls Scouts with their boxes of cookies. Boxes continued to fill their office as the doctors bought two cases of cookies from each troop.
The Girl Scout troops from cities such as Canton, Commerce, Brighton, Northville, Wixom, Warren, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, Clarkston and Berkley so far have taken part in ‘Cookies for Courage’ through the caring doctors at Outstanding Orthodontics.
The hundreds of boxes of cookies they have purchased are being sent to training bases, VA hospitals, as well as to military members serving both locally and abroad as a sweet thank you for all they are doing and have done.
The welcomed taste of home is also being sent to U.S. troops as far away as the Middle East, Japan, Italy, and even Thule Air Base in Greenland, 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle!
‘Cookies for Courage’ not only has put a smile on the faces of several military troops, it has also done so for the Girl Scouts troops.
“My troop loved visiting the office and selling so many boxes! We earned our Troops-to-Troops badge because of it too!” explained Abby Berkheiser, 14, of Commerce Troop 70451.
“We love for the girls to feel a connection to all the good they do. This was a great program because of that. We also used the trip to teach the girls a lot about career choices because of the visit to a professional office. It was a win-win all around,” added Christine Berkheiser, troop mom of Commerce Troop 70451.
For the doctors at Outstanding Orthodontics, and “go-giver” Dr. Shoukri, you can add another win to that.
“We are forever grateful for everything the individuals in the military forces of the United States do to protect our freedom. This is a sweet thank you from us and the Girl Scouts to them,” Shoukri concluded.
To learn more about Outstanding Orthodontics and their ‘Cookies for Courage’ initiative and now to become involved next cookie season, go to: https://outstandingortho.com/ cookies-for-courage/ Or, follow them on Facebook and Instagram at: https://www.facebook.com/ BerkmanAndShapiroOrthodontics/ https://www.instagram.com/ outstandingortho/