Next year the Milwaukie Lions plan to screen all students at all North Clackamas schools for vision issues, more than doubling the number of areas screened annually.
Milwaukie Lions Club members recently partnered with the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation to provide 12 NCSD schools with student vision screenings, serving 8,751 students. Of these students more than 1,270 were referred to eye doctors for more comprehensive eye exams and possibly eyeglasses.
OLSHF uses technology to screen students for 13 different vision issues, and the information is passed along to the school, which in turn sends these results to the student's parent or caregiver. The goal is to help catch vision problems early so that eye issues don't hold back students in their education, which can have a lifelong impact.
OLSHF works with schools and Lions Clubs statewide and is on track to screen more than 185,000 students this year alone, with the goal to screen more than 200,000 next year.
In addition to supporting students, the Milwaukie Lions Club works to provide assistance to low-income individuals living in ZIP codes 97222, 97267, 97015 and 97086 with sight and hearing issues. In the past year, the club has assisted 39 low-income adults with eye exams and glasses and four adults with hearing exams and hearing aids.
One applicant recently said, upon being approved for vision assistance, "It will be so nice to see again." Another person said, after being fit with his new hearing aids, he could hear for the first time in years.
The Milwaukie Lions Club also supports the recycling of used eyeglasses, hearing aids and cell phones, with drop-off boxes located throughout North Clackamas County. These glasses are sorted and shipped to Coffee Creek Correctional Facility where female prisoners clean, calibrate and catalog the donated glasses for worldwide sight mission trips.
Prisoners work in the Optical Training program, a collaboration between the Oregon Department of Corrections, the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation and Portland Community College. This program takes about nine to 12 months to complete, and upon graduation, the student will have earned a national certification as a paraoptometric.
With additional training, the student inmate may apply and test for advanced certification. This provides female prisoners with job training and skills so they can find employment once they've served their time.
One of only 19 Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers in the world, Oregon's program processes more than 100,000 used glasses each year and recently sent glasses to Nigeria, Mexico and Peru.
The Milwaukie Lions Club has been active in supporting citizens of Milwaukie and North Clackamas County since 1948. While Lions as an international organization primarily focuses on sight and hearing programs, Milwaukie's club also supports North Clackamas schools by providing needed supplies to classrooms and coordinates a Backpack Buddy program. The club undertakes a Holiday Food Drive that provides food boxes to more than 500 local families, in addition to many other activities and service projects throughout the year.
The Milwaukie Lions Club is always looking for new members who want to support the community. Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of the month at the Clackamas Elmer's Restaurant.
For more information about projects and Lions membership, visit olshf.org.
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