This post originally appeared on TOMS’ Eyewear blog. Helen Keller International is partnering with TOMS to provide prescription eyeglasses to students in need through our ChildSight® program.
Hector, 12, is an eager sixth-grader here in Los Angeles, with a knack for math. When he grows up, he hopes to be a veterinarian or play soccer, his favorite sport, professionally.
Not too long ago, Hector was having trouble seeing the blackboard, and was struggling in classes although he had the skills to succeed. Hector knew he needed glasses, but had broken his last pair and wasn’t able to replace them because of his family’s financial constraints. When he could, Hector would borrow his older sister’s glasses, and although that didn’t correct his vision, he thought a little bit of help was better than nothing.
When ChildSight®, the domestic program of TOMS Sight Giving Partner Helen Keller International (HKI), visited Hector’s school, he was given a screening to test his vision. Since he failed this test, Hector also received a full eye exam including refraction, with what he called the “big glasses that looked like ‘Transformers.’ ”
“I looked like a robot with them on,” Hector said.
After his exam, he and his classmates picked out new frames. “As they put those lenses on me, I could see more clearly! It made me excited [to pick out my new glasses]!”
Nancy Prail, HKI’s Director of ChildSight®, explained that letting children choose their own frames helps them embrace wearing glasses, which can be a challenge for middle school students who are sensitive to the opinions of their peers. They’ve found that this self-selection helps break the stigma. Hector chose new glasses with red and black frames.
“I’m excited to see the board much better, and playing sports will be much easier,” Hector shared. “I won’t have to squint or squeeze my eyes or sit in the front all of the time.”
Thank you for helping us support our Giving Partners in making it happen. Let’s continue to help restore sight – we’re aiming to help 100,000 people this summer.Join us!