When the PCCY team sees a problem they ask, “How can we help?”
Vision difficulties are one of the most common child health problems in the United States and the most prevalent handicapping condition in childhood. Problems with children’s eyesight can start at an early age and can affect a child’s ability to learn, athletic performance, and even self-esteem.
Building on PCCY’s successful Give Kids a Smile Day model of free dental care for kids, in 2009 PCCY recruited partners to design “Give Kids Sight Day” a day of free eye checks and eye glasses for children who need them. Dr. Alex Levin at Wills Eye Institute jumps on board and becomes a driving force to help recruit ophthalmologists and optometrists to volunteer a day of free exams.
After a comprehensive screening and exam from area eye doctors who are volunteering their time for the event, children are provided two free pairs of eyeglasses. Coordinating this effort is no small task: for just one Give Kids Sight Day, it requires an amazing team of 425 volunteers to serve more than 1,000 kids in nine hours!
The good news is that vision loss can be avoided if problems are found and treated early. And Medical Assistance and CHIP cover eye exams and eye glasses. Some barriers exist, however, that prevent children from accessing vision care services. PCCY works to improve the visual health of the region’s children by engaging in multiple, interconnected efforts to improve children’s access to vision health care services.
Over the years, PCCY has partnered with Wills Eye Hospital, Eagles Youth Partnership, Vision to Learn, Salus University/The Eye Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Visionworks, Essilor Vision Foundation, and many more committed organizations to provide this service. Based on this perennial effort, PCCY’s Health Policy Director, Colleen McCauley, was nominated for a Health Hero Award.
In 2019, PCCY serves the 10,000th child at the 10th annual Give Kids Sight Day. This year alone, an amazing team of 425 volunteers, interpreters in Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese and several other languages helped serve nearly 1,200 kids in nine hours!
All uninsured children are referred to PCCY’s Child Healthwatch Helpline, a year-round hotline that helps parents find insurance coverage for their kids.
You can also make a donation to support or work on children’s health.