Starting last month, Richmond Hill Lions Club members traveled to Richmond Hill Elementary School, Carver Elementary School, Richmond Hill Primary School and McAllister Elementary School giving free eye tests to students.
The Lions partnered with Richmond Hill schools to give eye tests to students in grades one, three and five. They also intend to test as many of the private and preschool facilities in Richmond Hill as they are allowed.
Students were tested with the Welch Allyn Spot Screener. The handheld vision screening device is designed to quickly and easily detect vision problems in children as young as six months of age. The Welch Allyn Spot Screener screens both eyes at once from a three-foot distance to determine if a problem with vision exists that needs to be evaluated by a qualified professional.
This is the third year the Lions Club has been active with this program in Richmond Hill. Club president Boyd Walden estimated that this year they will service about 2,000 students by the time they are finished.
The Lions Club is known throughout the world for their work to improve the lives of the visually impaired and prevent avoidable blindness.
“The Lions Club has been around for over a hundred years. It’s the world’s largest civic organization with 1.4 million people in over 100 countries," Walden said. "Vision was really pushed early on by Helen Keller, who went to Lions Club leaders and asked them to be supportive of blind people.”
Keller was a blind and deaf educator and activist who gave a speech at the Lions Club International Convention on June 30, 1925 in Cedar Point, Ohio.
“I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?” Keller reportedly said.
The Richmond Hill Lions Club was founded in 1966. Their motto is “We Serve” and their primary focus is on vision problems and the local community.
Local club meetings are the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse on Bass Drive. Visitors are welcome to attend. There will be no meetings in November or December.