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Healthy Eyes Healthy Children Grant Program Brings Vision Care to Children In Need

The 2020 grant application deadline is August 5.

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(PRESS RELEASE) DALLAS, TEXAS – Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF) continues its partnership with Optometry Cares-The AOA Foundation through the Healthy Eyes Healthy Children community grants program. EVF is the founding sponsor of the program, now in its fourth year, which gives grants of up $5,000 to eye care professionals who focus on collaborative efforts to spread awareness and increase vision services in their community. For the 2019 cycle, 17 grants were given out to eye doctors in 13 states for a total of $77,500. These funds support optometrists who partner with their community to drive quality health care to underserved youth through sustainable community-based solutions across the U.S.

The 2020 grant application deadline is August 5. EVF encourages any interested eye care professionals to learn more and apply for a grant on the AOA Foundation’s website.

Making a Difference for Kids in Need

Vision impairment is one of the most prevalent disabling conditions among children in the United States. There are millions of kids in this country who need vision services, and many of them struggle to get access to care.

Grant winner Chaka Norwood, OD, went back to her hometown in Mississippi for her project, the Bolivar County School Based Vision Clinic. One of the goals of the project is to decrease the number of students who are academically vulnerable because of vision problems. “The delta is where I grew up. I was one of those kids who couldn’t see, but my parents didn’t take me to the eye doctor. Those kids are me,” she shares. Dr. Norwood used the grant to purchase mobile equipment so she can visit more schools and help more students.

To serve children in need in Philadelphia, Brandy Scombordi, OD, and Jacqueline Patterson, vice president, institutional advancement and community relations, Salus University, created the Looking Out for Kids-Vision Outreach program. They used the grant to bring students in underserved areas who had failed their school vision screenings to clinics where they received a comprehensive eye exam and two pairs of glasses. “There was a high school student who was living in his car and his glasses were stolen; that really touched us,” Dr. Scombordi says. “We supplied him with two pairs of glasses. He was excited to tell us shortly afterward how much easier school was and that he was accepted to college on a full scholarship.”

Everyone Deserves to See Clearly

EVF believes good vision starts with good doctors and that without charitable eye doctors, millions of children would not get essential vision care. “EVF is committed to making sure every child sees clearly,” says Becky Palm, president and executive director. “The Healthy Eyes Healthy Children Community Grants program is a key part of our efforts to provide eye exams and glasses to kids who otherwise would not be able to afford vision care.”

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