The Gift of Sight

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Coming to school ready to learn isn’t possible if students aren’t able to see what’s going on in the classroom. Thanks to the Give the Gift of Sight Foundation, over 100 children in Wilkinsburg can see clearly now that the Vision Van has come, bringing free screenings, exams and new glasses to students from all six District schools, as well as St. James School. “We see great improvement, both academically and socially, in our students when their vision has been properly corrected,” says Bernadette Skoczylas, Social Services Coordinator for the Wilkinsburg School District.
The Vision Van is like an optometrist’s office on wheels, minus the cash register. It has everything onboard for a volunteer doctor to provide a thorough eye exam and make a new pair eyeglasses for children in need. In addition to volunteer doctors, our Vans are also staffed by volunteer Luxottica Group employees and Lions clubs members. Doctors and staff of the Luxottica Retail association donate their services to provide thorough eye exams and eyeglass fittings. Those few students who the doctors determined may need more extensive services have been sent vouchers that can be taken to any Lenscrafters, Sears or Target for a follow-up examination in the office.
Founded in 1988, Give the Gift of Sight is a family of charitable programs providing free vision care and eyewear to underprivileged individuals in North America and in developing countries around the world. Sponsored by Give the Gift of Sight Foundation and Luxottica Group, these programs have helped six million people on five continents and in hundreds of communities across North America.
While all of the glasses that the Give the Gift of Sight Foundation distributes in North America are brand new, in-kind donations, the foundation partners with the Lion’s Club International to distribute recycled, donated glasses in developing nations. “Because it’s so important that our students learn about giving back,” says Mrs. Skoczylas, “we are going to be coordinating a glasses drive this fall, asking students to collect used glasses that can be distributed to people in need around the world.” All glasses, no matter how damaged, can be useful in some way. Thanks to the Wilkinsburg Borough and Police Chief Ophelia Coleman for providing free parking for the volunteers.

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