@helenkellerintl For almost 25 years, HKI’s ChildSight program has been providing free eye exams and glasses to low-income students in urban areas of the United States, offering a simple, cost-effective solution to the far-too-common problem of uncorrected vision loss in one of the richest nations in the world. Since schoolchildren are not the only vulnerable people in the U.S. who urgently need vision care and properly prescribed glasses, HKI expanded its program this year, to serve runaway homeless youth, underserved veterans, newly arrived immigrants and refugees, low-income seniors, and homeless families.
One such family is eight year-old Ezekiel and his mother, Babee. The two live in a homeless shelter that ChildSight visited in August. Ezekiel had been wearing his glasses so much that they broke back in January, and his mother couldn’t afford to fix them or get new ones. Ezekiel said, “I could see with my glasses on, but I can’t see without my glasses, and I’m not able to read. I can’t even do my homework without my glasses.” Through the ChildSight program, Ezekiel received a free vision screening, eye exam, and new glasses. He was very excited to get them just in time for Back to School. He said, “I’m looking forward to reading, and to doing my homework, and to focusing.” And he added, “The glasses make me look cooler. And maybe I look smart.” ChildSight staff notice over and over again how new glasses help their clients not only to see more clearly, but also to gain confidence – a winning combination for Ezekiel and the many thousands of others who have received ChildSight services this year.