Emerging Vision’s Project Eyesight Gives Back to U.S. Communities



 Jerri Walker (center) of Brookville Center for Children’s Services, surrounded by (L-R) Emerging Vision’s Glenn Spina, David Copeland, Jean-Marie Ranieri, Kathie O’Connor, Brian Alessi, and Nick Shashati, OD. Photo by Lifetime Photography.
MELVILLE, N.Y.—“Our company has retail locations throughout the United States, so we felt it’s time to give back to the community,” Glenn Spina, CEO of Emerging Vision, Inc. said about the formation of the company’s new non-profit charity, Project Eyesight.

The new 501(c) 3 launched with an event in June that provided free eyecare and eyeglasses to the students with developmental disabilities served by the Brookville Center for Children’s Services in Brookville, N.Y. “Children with special needs and their families often struggle with medical and dental visits many people would consider routine,” said the school’s executive director Michael Mascari. “What Emerging Vision is offering is nothing short of professional, compassionate care to our children and families. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to start a healthy routine of eyecare that will last a lifetime.”

Ranked number 13 among Vision Monday’s top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers, Emerging Vision operates 40 Site for Sore Eyes locations across California and 125 franchised and company-owned Sterling Optical stores located across 13 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The launch of Project Eyesight coincides with the 100th anniversary of Sterling Optical, one of Emerging Vision’s retail brands. “My heart has always been to help people who are less fortunate,” said Spina, who previously traveled throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa to provide eyecare to those in need.



 The launch of Project Eyesight coincides with the 100th anniversary of Sterling Optical’s founding in New York City in 1913.
Now, he’s taken this opportunity to bring his charity back home. “Across the United States, vision is a luxury that many take for granted. Our 100th anniversary is the perfect opportunity to give back and engage with our customers and the communities we serve in ways we’ve never had the ability to before,” he said. “We are pleased to announce that we have formed this non-profit organization which will enable us to be charitable right here at home and fulfill our vision of providing free eyecare for the needy communities that are currently in underserved neighborhoods throughout the United States.”

Before Emerging Vision even solicited its vendors to participate in the Project Eyesight charity “Zyloware stepped up and donated 1,000 frames to us,” Spina told Vision Monday. “Other vendors want to participate,” he said, “and even our lawyers want to come. It’s interesting to have people who are not really in the optical industry want to be involved.”

The idea is to get both corporate staff and franchises involved throughout the country to spend a day or two helping those less fortunate. While the program helps with team building and establishes good will for the company in the field, ultimately the goal is to help those less fortunate, as Spina told Vision Monday, “Until you go out and see people’s reactions to putting on that pair of glasses, you can’t even describe it.”

He did, however, describe one Brookville Center student’s experiences getting glasses the day of Project Eyesight’s launch. “One autistic child was very afraid of being touched and the machines, so his caretaker helped him all morning playing with binoculars and kaleidoscopes to become more comfortable,” Spina explained. “He came back in the afternoon, and we were able to examine him. He walked out with his glasses and you could see his face light up.” ■