United Way Teams Up With Local Eye Doctors to Help Students

(L to R) Rodney Remsey, director of quality assurance
and technology, Classic Optical; Dominic Mancini,
Sight for All; Gary Fitzgerald and Linda Fitzgerald,
licensed opticians, Modern Optical, with students
from Youngstown, Ohio schools.
The students pick out their glasses.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio—The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley’s Success After 6 program provides wraparound services to students in Youngstown, Ohio. Recently, United Way teamed up with several groups including Sight for All, Classic Optical Laboratories, Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF), Modern Optical International, and Opticians Association of Ohio to provide children with free eye exams and eyeglasses.

“The partnership with these groups truly defines community impact,” said Bob Hannon, president of United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley, “We want our children to succeed in the classroom, and sometimes they face various barriers including not being able to see the board in the front of the classroom. Many of our families can’t afford to go to the eye doctor, so this is where we step in and work with the right partners to truly impact the students.”

“This was a tremendous community effort and involved many pieces to accomplish,” said Sergul Erzurum, MD, Eye Care Associates and president of Sight for All, a local vision care organization. “I was really humbled and proud of the volunteer efforts and cooperation everyone showed to help the children of our community. These kids were all wonderful; each one was respectful, thankful and happy.”

Sight for All arranged for the eye doctors as well as the transportation through Camelot Lanes, Assumption Village, and Boys and Girls Club for the students to go to the doctors’ offices during the school day. The doctors involved in this project included Sergul Erzurum, MD, Eye Care Associates and president of Sight for All; Michael Woloschak, OD; Robert Gaetano, OD, Vision Care Associates; Robin Maceyko, OD, Eye Catchers Optical; Peter E. Sforza Jr., OD; Brad Bloomberg, OD, Bloomberg Eyecare; Brian Mathie, OD, Roholt Vision Institute and Nicholas Lawrence, OD, Roholt Vision Institute.

Classic Optical, with its partners Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF) and Modern Optical, will manufacture and provide eyeglasses at no charge to the children in need. EVF donated the lenses and Modern Optical donated frames. Employees from Classic Optical and members of the Opticians Association of Ohio volunteered during the event and will deliver the new eyeglasses to the school.

“Classic Optical is a family-owned optical manufacturing company that’s been part of the Youngstown community since 1970, and giving back has always been important for us,” said Dawn Friedkin, president of Classic Optical. “We know how critical good vision is for students to succeed in school, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to have been able to provide eyeglasses, equipment and volunteers to ensure local schoolchildren have access to the vision they need.”

While the students waited for their exams, volunteers helped entertain and chaperone the children. Once the exams were done, care including surgery, glasses, and medical patching was instituted. Classic Optical will be providing 2 pairs of glasses for each child, one for home and one for school.