Though he opened a thriving plastic surgery practice on
Chicago's Michigan Avenue, Dr. Steven Dayan wanted more. The dad of
three, who had been working since the age of 13, hoped to open
life's possibilities to children who otherwise might be overlooked
in inner-city schools.
"I'm a strong believer that education is the key to breaking
down barriers, defeating prejudice and increasing self-esteem,"
says Dayan, 42.
He's put money where his mouth is, pledging to build a school in
Cambodia, opening his practice to high school interns from
inner-city schools and establishing the Enhance Foundation to fund
college scholarships for students who dream against the odds.
"You hope to make an impact somewhere," he says.
How do you juggle everything (working with students,
your practice, research, speeches and your family)?
"My staff jokes that I don't sleep, they plug me in at
night, and the truth is I don't sleep a whole bunch." He says his
schedule is a constant struggle, but he makes sure he is there for
most of his girls' activities. Their special day is Sunday. On
warm, sunny Sundays, he wakes them early, puts down the top on his
convertible, cranks up the Jackson Five, and they drive to
Wisconsin for breakfast. "It's special alone time with the three of
them. I'm hoping they remember that forever."
What do your girls think about what you do?
Like all parents, he and wife Elise want to instill
the spirit of charity in their girls, Arielle, 11, Alexandra, 8,
and Noa, 6. "How do you instill in your kids that the world is not
like here everywhere?" he wonders aloud. He often shows them the
scholarship application essays. "I want my kids who live in this
nice suburban house to read what some other kids are going through
in this world and how much they appreciate the opportunity to go to
Advice to other parents trying to teach charitable
lessons in their own homes
"It's got to start at home. They've got to see you do
What would his girls say about him?
He laughs. "I'm a terrible singer." He'd also like to
think they are proud of him.
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