When a Hesperia teacher asked her class to share what they were thankful for, one student wrote two little words that spoke of a big impact: “to see!”

Several weeks before, the student had been one of more than 40 from Hesperia and Fremont to participate in Students in Need of Eyecare (SINE). Through SINE, referred children received free comprehensive eye exams from optometry students in Ferris State University’s Michigan College of Optometry. Any child who needed glasses was also able to choose frames and have them specially fitted.

SINE was developed by Dr. Sarah Hinkley, professor and chief of vision rehabilitation services at the Michigan College of Optometry, to address the number of local children who weren’t receiving eye care services due to factors like cost, lack of access, and difficulty ensuring that parents followed up on school vision screenings.

“We started brainstorming ideas for how to meet those needs and how to connect my students with a service learning opportunity,” said Sarah. “It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.”

The program soon caught the attention of the Fremont Lions Club. They contacted Sarah and enlisted the help of partners including Fremont and Hesperia schools and the City of Fremont to bring SINE to Newaygo County. The Community Foundation supported the project with an $18,957 grant.

“Many people contributed,” said Steve Adsmond, president of the Lions Club at the time. “It was a true community project. We wanted to help kids learn at their full potential.”

 

Photo courtesy of Ferris State University