PINELLAS PARK, Fla., March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Transitions Optical, with partner VSP® Vision Care, will visit Palmetto Elementary in Poinciana, Fla. today, March 7, and tomorrow, March 8, to "adopt" the school by bringing mobile eyecare clinic "Eyenstein" to provide free eye exams and prescription eyewear fitted with Transitions® lenses to the students, to reinforce the important role that healthy vision plays both in the classroom and in everyday life. In addition, mobile literacy unit Bess the Book Bus, and the Book Bus' founder, Florida native, Jenn Frances, will be at Palmetto Elementary handing out brand new books to the hundreds of students and conducting read-alouds to encourage them to develop a lifelong love for reading.
"With one in four children having an undiagnosed vision problem that can interfere with the ability to read and learn, Transitions Optical and our partner, VSP, are committed to raising awareness among children and families across the country about the connection between healthy, quality vision and success in and out of the classroom," said Dan McLean, marketing manager, communications, Transitions Optical. "Partnering with community organizations such as Bess the Book Bus and visiting schools such as Palmetto Elementary, right here in the Florida area, gives us the opportunity to do just that."
Palmetto Elementary is receiving the visit as the result of its participation in a community outreach contest in which Transitions Optical encouraged select schools in the Florida area to promise to take care of their eyes - for which a school adoption from "Eyenstein" and Bess the Book Bus was the Grand Prize.
The evaluation process for students grades K-5 included vision screenings conducted by Prevent Blindness Florida using breakthrough vision screening device Spot, developed by PediaVision, which made the screenings as easy as taking a photo of each student. Those students who failed the screenings will be given comprehensive examinations onboard 45-foot long mobile eyecare clinic "Eyenstein," which was developed by Transitions Optical and VSP to provide free eyecare and eyewear to children and adults in underserved communities across the country. The students requiring prescription lenses are able to choose their new eyeglass frames, which are then fitted with Transitions lenses right onboard. VSP will also provide a list of local eye doctors to the school to facilitate and reinforce the importance of getting annual eye exams - even for those who passed the vision screening. In addition to the complimentary eyecare and eyewear, all students will have the opportunity to climb aboard Bess the Book Bus to choose a new book to take home.
"Having conducted outreach events at underserved schools, shelters and community programs across the country, I have witnessed first-hand the challenges students face when a vision problem causes them to squint, complain of headaches and feel isolated from their peers," said Jenn Frances. "Being a part of this event with Transitions Optical, who is sponsoring the Book Bus' 2012 multi-city tour, and VSP is the perfect opportunity to provide these children with the tools - new eyewear and books - to become enthusiastic, lifelong readers."
As part of the contest to receive the "school adoption," Palmetto Elementary students signed a petition pledging to take care of their eyes and submitted photos, posters, and essays describing what they would miss seeing most if they didn't.
"We at Palmetto are thrilled that Transitions Optical, VSP and Bess the Book Bus are 'adopting' our school by providing comprehensive eye exams, eyewear and books to our students," said Luis Alvarez, principal, Palmetto Elementary. "Our students were so excited to submit their projects showing what they would miss seeing most if they didn't take care of their eyes, and with this visit, I am sure that our students will finish this school year with improved grades and confidence, and will look forward to reading and learning throughout the summer and into next school year as well."
The mobile eyecare clinic and Bess the Book Bus will be at the Transitions Championship®, March 12 - 18, at Innisbrook Resort in the St. Pete/Clearwater area. During tournament week, local students will receive vision screenings and books and participate in other sports-related activities - all of which will reinforce the importance of healthy, quality vision.
About the Transitions/VSP Mobile Eyes Clinic
Since inception, the VSP Mobile Eyes® program has had over 980 VSP doctors volunteer their time participating in 417 events and helping more than 80,000 people see more clearly. What started as an extension of relief efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the program features two mobile eyecare clinics, each with two comprehensive exam rooms and full eyeglass dispensaries, which respond to disasters and assist people in need in communities throughout the U.S. In March 2010, Transitions Optical partnered with VSP Global to introduce the third clinic in the Mobile Eyes fleet, which has the unique feature of a finishing lab, featuring full-service lens finishing equipment, providing patients with eyeglasses on-site.
About Bess the Book Bus
Founded solely by Frances in 2004, Bess the Book Bus began visiting schools, shelters and after-school programs in the Tampa area to distribute children's books and host readings for underprivileged children. Since then, Frances' efforts have expanded, servicing more than 200 children and adults in need each week to promote literacy. Frances gives nearly 50,000 new books each year to schools, community centers and shelters, with 2011 being the record year, distributing nearly 100,000 books. Her program continues to grow as Frances prepares for her third multi-city tour across the country. For more information about the program, visit www.bessthebookbus.org.