OneSight comes to NYC with a Vision Van Clinic providing local students with free eye exams and glasses and stays with self-sustaining school-based vision centers in Brooklyn and the Bronx with support from LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut
NEW YORK, April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New York City's United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and OneSight, a global vision care nonprofit that has provided vision care and eyewear to 8.5 million people in underserved communities since 1988, announce Project NYSee, a new partnership providing New York City public school students with sustainable access to the quality vision care they need and deserve to see and learn their best.
Project NYSee launches April 23-24 when local students will receive free eye exams and new glasses onboard OneSight's Vision Van when it parks at PS335/MS584 in Brooklyn. Pre-screened students from PS335/MS584 and surrounding schools will receive comprehensive eye exams onboard EyeLeen, OneSight's state-of-the-art mobile vision center and optical lab sponsored by EyeMed Vision Care.
"Local doctors, technicians and teams from EyeMed, LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut and other community partners are volunteering their services to support area children," said Donna Sullivan, Volunteer Clinic Coordinator and Regional General Manager with LensCrafters, who has supported OneSight with employee volunteers and funding since 1988. "The Clinic team will manufacture the majority of prescriptions onsite ensuring students who visit the Vision Van will receive their new glasses about 30 minutes after their eye exam. We deeply believe in this cause and are passionate about using our optical expertise and lab skills to help kids here in New York City and worldwide through OneSight."
In addition to NYC, this year OneSight's Vision Vans will travel to Rochester and Fishkill in New York and will serve students across 15 other states including California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin.
While OneSight Vision Clinics provide important short-term solutions for students in need, the long-term focus of Project NYSee is to provide sustainable, year-round access to quality vision care as part of The NYC Community Learning Schools Initiative (NYCCLSI). NYCCLSI aims to improve student achievement by meeting the health, safety and social service needs of students, parents and communities by facilitating partnerships between public schools, nonprofits and local businesses and government agencies to connect vital services to public school buildings. After starting with six schools, the initiative expanded in the 2013/14 academic year to 16 schools and continues to grow.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vision disability is the single most prevalent disabling condition among children in the United States. "Consider the impact of these statistics in New York City where 1.1 million children are part of the public school system, forty percent of families in the district are living below the poverty line and one in 20 students is homeless," said Karen Alford, UFT Vice President for Elementary Education. "Children who see better, learn better and we're thrilled to be working with OneSight to add vision care to our Community Learning Schools model through Project NYSee. Providing our families with access to quality vision care is such a simple thing that will have huge impact on the learning potential and lives of our students."
As part of NYCCLSI, OneSight is working with local health partners and The SUNY College of Optometry to open two school-based vision centers at PS 188 in Brooklyn and PS 18 in the Bronx this fall. The OneSight Vision Center at PS188 will be operated by Lutheran Family Health Centers with sponsorship and volunteer support from LensCrafters. The OneSight Vision Center at PS 18 will be operated by Montefiore Medical Center with sponsorship and volunteer support from Sunglass Hut.
Each center will serve approximately 5,000 students annually providing comprehensive eye exams, glasses, fittings, adjustments and medical eye care with an onsite optometrist, ophthalmic technician and optician. The SUNY College of Optometry will support the recruitment and hiring of Pediatric Optometrists as well as provide 4th year students to expand capacity and study/report on the impact of healthy vision on academic results.
These partnerships will build on an existing vision screening program provided by the Office of School Health, a joint program of the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which currently screens pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students, and provides follow-up for the most severe eye problems and optometry care where needed.
The American Optometric Association reports that one out of four U.S. students has an undiagnosed vision problem impacting their ability to see and learn to their full potential. In addition to its global programming, OneSight has helped more than 1 million children in the U.S. including 30,000 NY students through 75 OneSight Vision Clinics conducted statewide since 1996 in partnership with local schools, health partners and the Fresh Air Fund.
"We believe all students deserve access to quality vision care and glasses to help them see and learn their best and we're excited to build on our long history of charitable vision care in New York with Project NYSee," said OneSight Executive Director Dr. Jason Singh, O.D. "We are deeply honored to work with the UFT, Community Learning Schools Initiative, SUNY, our local health partners and sponsors to open these two vision centers and many more in progress to ensure all New York students can see their future."
Editor's Note: Students eligible to receive Vision Van services are determined in advance of the clinic by local school nurses and community partners; walk-in appointments are not available.
United Federation of Teachers
The UFT represents approximately 200,000 members in New York City. The union roster includes 75,000 teachers and 19,000 classroom paraprofessionals, along with school secretaries, attendance teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, adult education teachers, administrative law judges, nurses, laboratory technicians, speech therapists, and 60,000 retired members. The union also represents teachers and other employees in a number of private educational institutions and charter schools. www.uft.org
OneSight is an independent nonprofit providing access to quality eye care and new eyewear in underserved communities worldwide. Since 1988, OneSight has partnered with local health organizations, governments, school districts, industry leaders, doctors and volunteers to help more than 8.5 million people in 40 countries. In 2014, OneSight will serve more than 250,000 people in 14 countries through its charitable Vision Clinics and sustainable Vision Centers. OneSight's programs are made possible thanks to generous sponsorship and volunteer support from Luxottica, its affiliated brands and many individuals, corporations, foundations, industry and community partners.EyeMed is presenting sponsor of OneSight's 2014 Vision Van Program and LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut are presenting sponsors of OneSight Vision Centers as part of Project NYSee in Brooklyn and the Bronx. www.OneSight.org
Alison Gendar, UFT
Julie Maslov, OneSight