November 14 is World Diabetes Day – an opportunity to raise awareness about diabetes and help people around the world lead healthier, happier lives. Lions everywhere are encouraged to raise awareness throughout the entire month of November. Project planning tools and resources are available through the LCI website.
Project ideas include:
Have you ever wondered how Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) can help Lions change lives in your community? Experience the impact of LCIF at this year’s Europa Forum, October 9-11, in Augsburg, Germany. The theme for this year’s forum is “Sympathy and Friendship.” LCIF will have representatives on hand who can answer questions regarding grant programs, the application process, and donations, as well as provide informational materials. Be sure to ask about the Lions Measles Initiative!
This year, there are several informational sessions regarding LCIF:
Forums provide for an exchange of information and ideas surrounding service activities and Lions’ projects while promoting the principles and objectives of Lions Clubs International and LCIF. All Lions in the constitutional area in which the forum is held are invited to participate.
You can read about LCIF’s activities at the OSEAL Forum in the upcoming weeks.
The above quote is from Helen Keller’s speech to Lions at the 1925 International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. Lions accepted and embraced her challenge, dedicating the past 100 years to serving people with visual impairments.
Our newest video in the Lions Centennial Celebration series, “Knights of the Blind,” takes a look back at Lions’ sight projects and programs. See how Lions became Knights of the Blind, and how Lions continue to serve those in need all around the world.
In honor of World Sight Day, Angela Supernaw from Service Activities provided an update on progress made towards the Centennial Service Challenge goal of serving 25 million people through sight-related projects and activities.
Links Angela referred to:
Every child in every Head Start program in Kentucky— that’s the new target population for the KidSight program in Kentucky.
Children in Head Start often do not have access to eye health resources. Yet Head Start requires that every child receive a vision screening within 45 days of enrolling in the program. The Lions of Kentucky hope the expansion will fulfill this requirement for 20,000 children. Lions will screen children living in Kentucky’s coal mining communities, from migrant farmworker families and those in impoverished inner city areas.
Lions of Kentucky are being assisted by an LCIF Standard grant for $92,312. The screenings will be done in partnership with the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, the Louisville Downtown Lions Club and the Kentucky Head Start Association.
The Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation initiated its KidSight program in 2003. Since then, the program has screened the vision of more than 80,000 children throughout Kentucky.
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children under the age of five by enhancing their social, emotional and cognitive development. Children enrolled in Head Start programs reside in low-income households; to qualify for Head Start, a family of four’s annual income may not exceed $23,850.
Typically, vision screenings for Head Start children in Kentucky are performed by local health departments with vision charts. While these charts may be adequate for older children without language or medical barriers, local Lions are concerned about their accuracy in screening infants and children with developmental delays. According to program data, 12 percent of Head Start children have disabilities that impede traditional vision screenings and up to 32 percent have language barriers.
Much of the grant funding was used to purchase noninvasive photoscreening devices. Many Lions clubs use these cameras to conduct their screening outreach activities. The cameras boast a 95 percent accuracy rate and provide immediate results. These devices are useful in detecting nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, lazy eye and other conditions that can be easily corrected if detected early.
Local Lions are visiting Head Start centers throughout Kentucky to conduct screenings for children who might otherwise not be able to obtain them. All children whose screenings indicate the need for follow-up care are referred to eye health professionals. Head Start staff work to find, secure and coordinate the follow-up care, ensuring that assistance does not end with a vision screening.
During a pilot program in western Kentucky in 2011, 618 Head Start preschool children received vision screenings. Fifteen percent were found to need prescriptive eyeglasses and 5 percent were found to have a serious eye disease.
Felicia Elliot, a nurse and a former Head Start program specialist, says, “This pilot proved to be of great value. I, along with the parents of all 618 of those screened children whose vision was saved are extremely grateful to the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, the KidSight program and all its wonderful volunteers.”
Lions clubs across the country, like this one in District 14 T in Pennsylvania, host vision screenings for children.
The Lions of Kentucky expect to screen all Head Start children in the state by the end of 2015, after which local clubs will use the cameras for communitywide screenings at churches, health fairs and day care centers.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of LION Magazine.
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