These students received free eye exams and will receive free glasses from Essilor of America and through the Essilor Vision Foundation.
Thursday’s event was just one more day of work the foundation has been doing for the past 10 years. The foundation works to bridge the gap between need and access to vision correction in a variety of locations at no cost to those in need.
The foundation reports that it has provided 511,273 pairs of glasses to those in need in the past decade and has provided 1,142,081 screenings with the help of its partners.
This is the first year that Essilor has visited Carter County. The visit is a result of the efforts of Mikki Daniels of Essilor’s Southern Optical Laboratory in Piney Flats. Daniels said she has volunteered for mission work in Belize in the past, but being able to help people in need in her own home was very rewarding.
“It is just great,” she said.
Essilor’s regional operations director, Bruno Barajuan of Greensboro, N.C., agreed. He said the day helping school children in Carter County to see better was “very rewarding.” Daniels said other Essilor employees volunteered from several states, including Arizona, South Carolina, Virginia, as well as Syracuse, N.Y. and Dallas.
Daniels said four local eye doctors also volunteered to conduct the exams. Those volunteers were: John Holland, Tammy Holsclaw-Jones, David Mills, and Brooke Jones-Cannon.
The exams were conducted in a large room provided by Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church. The church provided a central location for the school system and the children were bused to the church from schools throughout the county on Thursday.
Officials said the church leaders were pleased to provide the facilities. The church also provides for the annual in-service training for all the county teachers at the start of the school year and for the annual crime scene investigation competition between criminal justice classes in high schools throughout the region.