Transitions Optical and VSP Vision Care Join Bess the Book Bus to Help Harlem Area Children Prepare to Return to the Classroom

"Eyenstein" Mobile Eyecare Clinic and Bess the Book Bus Provide Free Eyecare and Eyewear and Books to Children at East Harlem Scholars Academy and Harlem Week Children's Festival

Aug 22, 2011, 13:58 ET from Transitions Optical, Inc.

PINELLAS PARK, Fla., Aug. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Transitions Optical and VSP® Vision Care brought a state-of-the-art 40-foot mobile eyecare clinic, nicknamed "Eyenstein," to the Harlem community to provide comprehensive eye exams and complimentary eyewear to area children to help them prepare for the start of a new school year. The mobile eyecare clinic, onsite at East Harlem Scholars Academy on Thursday, August 18, will also be at the Harlem Week Children's Festival which is open to the public on Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21.

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Students at East Harlem Scholars Academy, who were pre-qualified through individual vision screenings, will receive complimentary eye exams and if needed, prescription eyewear fitted with Transitions® lenses right onboard the clinic, to help them see their best when heading back to class.  Additionally, at the Harlem Week Children’s Festival, there will be free vision assessments available on a first-come, first-served basis.  For those who qualify and require corrective eyewear, VSP gift certificates will be offered to receive a free comprehensive eye exam and new eyeglasses at a locally-based VSP optometrist.

"Eighty percent of what a child learns is through vision—yet, one in four children has an undetected vision problem that can interfere with the ability to read and learn," said Dan McLean, marketing manager, communications, Transitions Optical. "With these events, Transitions Optical and VSP hope to raise awareness among families in the Harlem area about the importance of proper eyecare and eyewear, especially when it comes to children and their success both in and out of the classroom."

Joining the mobile eyecare clinic in Harlem is "Bess the Book Bus," a mobile literacy unit and outreach program. Founded by Tampa, Fla. native Jennifer Frances, Bess the Book Bus has traveled across the country and is currently traveling as part of its "Success is in Sight" multi-city national tour, visiting numerous communities in need to provide books and resources to help children become enthusiastic lifelong readers and educate families about the connection between healthy, quality vision and reading.  The Book Bus was alongside "Eyenstein" at East Harlem Scholars Academy distributing brand new books to students, and will also be at the Children's Festival, hosting "read-aloud" sessions and making available free bookmarks and other family-friendly games and resources.

"While visiting schools and community centers, I have witnessed many children whose undetected vision problems impact not only their academic performance, but also their behavior and confidence in socializing with their peers," said Jennifer Frances, founder, Bess the Book Bus.  "It is wonderful to be in the Harlem area alongside Transitions Optical and VSP, co-sponsors of the Book Bus' 2011 national tour, to give these children the tools they need to develop a lifelong love of reading."

"The staff and families at East Harlem Scholars Academy are thrilled that Transitions Optical and VSP brought the mobile clinic, along with Bess the Book Bus, to the Harlem area," said Monica Hostetler, director of operations, East Harlem Scholars Academy.  "Now is an exciting time of firsts for everyone at East Harlem Scholars Academy – not only are we opening our doors for the first time ever this school year, but through the mobile clinic's visit, many of our students received their very first eye exams and with their new eyeglasses, many were actually able to see clearly for the first time as well.  This opportunity was a perfect way for our students to get ready for a brand new year at a brand new school."  

The mobile clinic and Bess the Book Bus are headed  to the Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Ga. areas next to bring healthy vision and the love of reading to even more children in need.

To learn more about eye health, including more information about the Mobile Eyes program and Bess the Book Bus, and to find an eyecare professional near you, visit www.eyedidntknowthat.com.  

About the Transitions/VSP Mobile Eyes Clinic

Since inception, the VSP Mobile Eyes® program has had more than 900 VSP doctors volunteer their time participating in 375 events and helping more than 63,000 people see more clearly.  What started as an extension of relief efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the program features two mobile eyecare clinics, each with two comprehensive exam rooms and full eyeglass dispensaries, which respond to disasters and assist people in need in communities throughout the U.S.  In March 2010, Transitions Optical partnered with VSP to introduce the third clinic in the Mobile Eyes fleet, which has the unique feature of a finishing lab, featuring full-service lens finishing equipment, providing patients with eyeglasses on-site.

About Bess the Book Bus

Founded solely by Frances in 2004, Bess the Book Bus began visiting schools, shelters and after-school programs in the Tampa area to distribute children's books and host readings for underprivileged children.  Since then, Frances' efforts have expanded, servicing more than 200 children and adults in need each week to promote literacy.  Frances gives nearly 50,000 new books each year to schools, community centers and shelters, with 2010 being the record year, distributing more than 65,000 books.  Her program continues to grow as Frances prepares for her third multi-city tour across the country.  For more information about the program, visit www.bessthebookbus.org.

SOURCE Transitions Optical, Inc.