Fifth Annual Great Glasses Play Day Puts the Fun Into Vision Care for Kids

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GGPD attendees participate in fun activities at events held in (top to bottom) Savoy, Ill., Miami, Fla. and Madison, Wis.
MADISON, Wis.—The fifth annual Great Glasses Play Day (GGPD), which took place May 7 and 8, continued to show growth as it was hosted in over 10 cities this year. GGPD started as a small event—created by Kristin Ellsworth, Jessica Butler and Ann Zawistoski in 2012—dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment of vision issues, while celebrating visually impaired children.

Today, the organization has garnered support from local optical shops, children’s hospitals and sponsorship from large eyecare companies such as ClearVision Optical, Miraflex and Marco Ophthalmic. Retailers such as Kohls Cares have also joined in supporting GGPD.

ClearVision Optical has been partners with GGPD since its conception. “We wanted to get on board with them to see if there was any way ClearVision could support the effort,” stated Rachel Rodriguez, writer and e-marketing specialist at the ClearVision Optical company. “We supported them with donations that would help in their promotional efforts, in addition to doing promotions to our customer base, especially in locations where events would’ve been held.”

As the event grew, so did the partnership. ClearVision wrote, designed and produced a book titled Red’s Big Day, a gift-with-purchase item available with each Dilli Dalli frame. GGPD for their part, set up a section on their website for organizers interested in receiving materials for their Play Day. As a result, ClearVision was able to donate their books to several Play Day locations across the country.

Ivonne Goldstein of Optiwow, an online children’s eyewear retailer based in Miami, Fla., hosted the event for the last two years for underserved children who “wear glasses, eye patches or have other issues with their eyes.” This year, Optiwow partnered with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and hosted over 150 attendees.

“We offered them games, gave them pizza and balloons, and had the dog from the hospital come,” Goldstein explained. Because of their partnership with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, the event was both fun-filled and also educational. “We had the main pediatric ophthalmologists from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Dr. Zenia Aguilera and Roberto Warman give a talk and educate parents on issues about kids and glasses,” Goldstein stated.

The highlight of the day, however, came courtesy of Optiwow’s partnership with Etnia Barcelona and OptiUSA, who donated frames that were given out at the event. Goldstein explained, “Everyone wanted to try them on and they wanted to see if they fit. They even came to the tables and asked, ‘But are these really free?’ It was exciting to see.”

Chittick Family Eye Care, an optometry service provider in Savoy, Ill., took a more informational approach as they co-hosted their Play Day with another organization, Chambanamoms. While there was pizza, balloons and even a book reading session with Princess Elsa from Frozen, there was also a doctor from Chittick on site for parents (or patients) who had questions.

For Ellsworth, GGPD’s progression is evident in more ways than one. For personal reasons, Ellsworth and her two co-founders were not able to fully promote their Madison event, but because they have made connections over the last five years, other parents stepped up and led the Play Day effort.

“We are hoping to continue growing the volunteer base we have going,” Ellsworth stated. “We want to reach out to more optical organizations and businesses to help support and plan Great Glasses Play Day in their own communities.”

For more information, visit greatglassesplayday.com or Facebook.com/greatglassesplayday and if you would like to set up an event in your area, contact GGPD at GreatGlassesPlayDay@gmail.com for a digital organizer kit.