A New Vision for ChildSight US
HKI welcomes Meghan Lynch, HKI’s new Director of ChildSight® US.
Prior to joining HKI, Meghan served as the program manager for Age-Friendly Neighborhoods, a New York City Council-funded initiative to leverage community assets to maximize the social and economic participation of older New Yorkers in communities across the five boroughs. Her experience also includes tenures as a chief of staff in both the New York State Senate and the New York City Council. She possesses a wide breadth of knowledge related to politics and government and has eight years’ experience as an adjunct professor teaching an array of public health and management topics.
HKI: What made you interested in taking on a youth-focused initiative?
Meghan Lynch: I’ve always been interested in highlighting issues related to economic and social justice. The concept behind ChildSight — that a common tool like glasses can have a truly profound impact on a kid’s life, including their health and educational outcomes, was really compelling.
For all of us who wear glasses, you can remember that pivotal “a-ha” moment when you first put on your prescription and your view of the world totally changed. Being part of a proven, effective program that brings that experience to kids in need every day is deeply fulfilling.
It’s important for me to head off to work every day knowing I am doing a little bit of good in the world, and I’ve had no doubts about that since I started at HKI.
HKI: What aspects of the program are you most excited about growing?
ML: I really value that our ChildSight model removes barriers to care. Too often, parents and guardians are juggling raising a family and holding two jobs to make ends meet. Taking some of the burden off these families by providing a vital healthcare — and educational — service for their kids is so important and more needs to be done in this area.
I also love that the kids we serve are able to pick out their own frames. Choice is something kids aren’t always given in their lives, especially in middle school, and the ability to make a personal decision about how you look is something I would have really appreciated when I was younger, especially since I wore a uniform through 8th grade, which I did not delight in. It’s something I know our kids really enjoy.
HKI: What can we expect to see for ChildSight in 2016?
ML: In 2016 we will be rolling out strategic advocacy efforts at the city and state level in New York aimed at improving access to eye health services for children in underserved communities, which — given all my years on the other side of the table — I am especially excited about!
My primary goal is to strengthen support for the ChildSight program in all five states where we currently operate — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio and California.
I also hope to broaden our partnerships and identify opportunities to serve additional vulnerable populations, similar to our New York Community Trust-sponsored pilot working with adolescents in the homeless shelter system.