A mother living in Corona, Queens, Rosa has three sons, all of whom wear glasses. With a single pair of glasses easily costing hundreds of dollars, Rosa struggled to provide her children with the vision care that they need — annual eye exams, prescription lenses, and new frames if glasses get lost or broken.
One of Rosa’s sons, Christian is a high-achieving sophomore at Cathedral Preparatory High School, which he attends on academic scholarship. Starting in fourth grade, Christian noticed that he was having trouble with simple, everyday activities because he was unable to see clearly. He had to move closer to the board to see his teachers’ notes. “It’s cumbersome and frustrating to have to get up and go toward things to see them.” Christian said.
Growing worse each year, Christian’s extreme nearsightedness also forces him to hold books close to his face when reading. As an avid reader whose favorite subject is English, Christian found he had a hard time focusing while reading, even books by his favorite author, Stephen King. His eyesight was so poor, he even had trouble recognizing people and engaging in conversation unless they were directly in front of him.
Christian’s younger brother, Jonathan, is a sixth grader at St. Leo’s School in Queens. A soft spoken artist, Jonathan is nearsighted and, like his brother, first realized that he needed glasses when he was in the fourth grade.
Thanks to Helen Keller International’s ChildSight® program, both Christian and Jonathan received free vision screenings and eyeglasses right at school and at no cost to Rosa or the family. Since the program eases the burden of the family having to pay for glasses, they are able to use the money saved to pay for tuition fees and books to further their education.
With clear vision, Christian continues to excel in school and is currently enrolled in Honors and Advanced Placement classes. “I can see more clearly and recognize people better,” he said. Christian’s mother also mentioned that there was a noticeable improvement in his academic performance after he received his new eyeglasses.
“The program has really helped us a lot,” said Rosa. “We are really thankful for this program. You don’t know how much you’ve helped my family and other families around here.”
It is always inspiring to hear stories of mothers who do all they possibly can to give their children what they need to be healthy, happy, and successful. This Mother’s Day, lend a hand and help moms like Rosa provide their children with the tools to succeed – and give their whole family a brighter future.