Annual effort involves testing all Janesville P4J, kindergarteners
In 1925 the activist for the disabled, Helen Keller — born blind and deaf but who later in life learned sign language, Braille, and to speak — addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention and challenged Lions everywhere to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”
Since then, the main service focus of Lions International and its member clubs has been to champion for and serve those afflicted with blindness, low vision, and other vision-related ailments. The Janesville Noon Lions Club is proud to carry on that tradition locally with its efforts to annually provide vision screening to all P4J and kindergarten students.
Our club members are very proud of this program, because of the impact it can have on a child’s life. Many children ages 5-6 may have no idea that there is anything wrong, because that is all they know. Identifying and correcting vision-related issues at an early age may help the child be a better student, perform better in school or extracurricular activities, or promote better self-esteem because they no longer feel excluded or left out of activities because of their vision or lack thereof.
During the 2018-19 school year and using a camera borrowed from the Beloit Lions Club, the Janesville Noon Lions screened more than 1,100 students from all 12 School District of Janesville elementary schools, as well as several area private/parochial schools and private daycare facilities that are a part of the Preschool4Janevsille (P4J) program.
Our results showed possible vision issues in about 1 in 6 students. Parents were notified of the findings and encouraged to take their child to see an optometrist. Those families who could not afford the cost of the appointment, vision correction, or both, were referred to HealthNet of Rock County, to whom the Noon Lions made arrangements to cover these costs.
Plans for 2019-20 and beyond
Our goal each school year is to screen as many of Janesville’s P4J and kindergarten students as possible. To do so, our club has donated $4,000 to the School District of Janesville, to be put toward the cost of purchasing a brand-new, state-of-the-art vision-screening camera and related accessories. We anticipate being able to use this camera during the first semester of the 2019-20 school year and beyond.
This page will be updated periodically with new information about the program, the camera and technology used, etc.