We have now had several weeks at this school in Roslindale and it's been delightful to work with these students! The first thing I want to share is how well behaved, patient, and appreciative the children are before and during the clinics. Throughout the testing process they are compliant and focus well on the tasks at hand. When it comes time to select eyewear, if needed, their personalities really shine. Some are shy and prefer one of my team members to lead the process. Others enjoy trying on various frames and are very quick to mention a favorite color or style. The delivery of new eyewear also occurs throughout the clinics and that is a very anticipated and special time for all of us. The students light up when they realize that they can see the clock on the far wall. One student told me, "I can see beautifully!" It's very exciting for me and my team to be able to send the students off with new clarity and vision. I will be tracking the students and following up with them periodically to assess their progress, and to make any necessary adjustments to ensure long-term success.
It's been very humbling to realize the need for vision screenings and corrective eyewear in this student population. I wasn't sure what to expect exactly, but have found that approximately 80% need new glasses. Roughly half of these students have worn glasses before and their current pair is either lost, broken, or out of date. The remaining half have never worn and will hopefully experience significant benefits from wearing the new glasses! We are testing their focusing ability and oculomotor skills at near also. Some of the students are receiving bifocal lenses that should greatly assist in alleviating eyestrain from struggling to focus at near and allow for better comprehension and possibly less avoidance and fatigue.
We enjoy decorating the clinic with photographs throughout the room. We have laminated images of athletes, singers, and other celebrities wearing glasses placed on a feature wall. We also have portraits of visionaries from our campaign and sometimes we decorate the room with them as well. We play music and try to make the clinic a fun experience! The kids comment on the images and enjoy coming down to visit us.
Lastly, I'd also like to comment on the faculty at the Irving School. Principal Davis and Nurse Umeh have been been directly involved in all aspects of these clinics. I feel there is a very strong sense of community at the Washington Irving school. It feels more like a family. Nurse Umeh hugs the kids all day long and treats them as if they were her own. There is a lot of warmth and connection at this school and we are enjoying our time here!