Great Glasses Play Day Continues to Grow


MADISON, Wis.—On the weekend of May 2, 2015, children who wear glasses or are otherwise visually impaired came together for a weekend of fun activities at the 4th annual Great Glasses Play Day. The initiative, which began in 2012 to boost the self-esteem of children with optical needs, has grown from its original meet-up location in Wisconsin to become a nationwide event.

"The events went really well this year, and we have had a lot of optical stores and parents express interest in organizing an event for next year," Kristin Ellsworth GGPD co-founder said. "We are already setting up a system to reach out to all whom expressed interest and send them our organizers' kit this summer so that everyone can plan ahead."

As previously reported by Vision Monday, the 2013 event was held in 17 cities including one in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in 2014 there were 29 cities participating, but this year boasted participation from 32 cities including, Dallas, Texas; Portland, Ore; San Diego, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; Minneapolis, Minn; Dayton, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; and Miami, Fla. as well as international meet-ups in Canada and Australia. The GGPD participation level doubled this year with approximately 1,500 participants at the local parent-organized events.

One optical store participating was Optiwow, an online children's eyewear retailer based in Miami, Fla. The event which was held at the Patricia Phillip Frost Museum of Science attracted 150 participants and was the retailer's first time hosting a GGPD meet-up.

"This is very dear to our hearts. The fact that we could bring them together and promote the importance of screening kids is great. It was a feel good event all over," Ivonne Goldstein CEO of Optiwow said.

Jessica Butler, GGPD board member, designer of the GGPD T-shirts, and owner of Eye Power Kids Wear LLC who started the Portland, Ore. meet-up last year also had a big turnout at her local event with over 300 people in attendance at Portland.

"Many optical shops and sponsors also attended events and were impressed," Butler said. "At the Portland, Ore. event we had over 85 kids in glasses. It was an awesome sight and makes us really excited to see how much we will grow next year."

According to Ann Zawistoski, co-founder of GGPD and creator of the Little Four Eyes Blog, so much of the event's success continues to be the creativity and drive of the volunteer organizers in planning out the events both big and small for the children to enjoy, and although the concept of GGPD has remained the same in celebrating kids and their vision as well as allowing parents to connect, a few changes have also allowed the event to grow.

"This year, we were officially a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which helped the local organizers find more local sponsors.  We also just started doing a little bit of online fundraising to help offset the costs of organizing at both the national and local level through," Zawistoski said.

Sponsorship and support for the 2015 Great Glasses Play Day came from both a national and local level including contributions from: ClearVision, Miraflex, Marco, Anthologie Inc., Casey Eye Institute, Taylor Made, Bright Eyes Kids, Eyes for Kids and Teens, San Diego, Vintage Optical/Dr. Sommer, Morton, Ill., Alberta Eyecare, Portland, Ore., Myoptic Optometry, Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat (University Office), Dr. Alan Branson/Eye Care For You, Vision Source Studio 20/20 Charlotte N.C., Sports Rx, Hardesty Eye Care and Associates, Vision Arts Eyecare Center, Pure Vision Center, Precision Eyecare, Pediatric Ophthalmology Consultants, Miami; Europa Eyewear.

For more information, visit or and if you would like to start donating toward materials and mailing costs of volunteer organizer kits, click here.

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Great Glasses Play Day 2015 »

Attendees at the 2015 Great Glasses Play Day in Miami, Fla. get creative with their eyewear.

Great Glasses Play Day 2015 »

Frozen's Elsa and Ana make an appearance at Bright Eyes Kids' GGPD event.

Great Glasses Play Day 2015 »

The set up at Charlotte, N.C.'s Great Glasses Play Day.

Great Glasses Play Day 2015 »

Princesses wear glasses too at Perrysburg, Ohio's meet-up.

Great Glasses Play Day 2015 »

Kids have fun taking a whack at the giant glasses piñata at the Portland, Ore. event.

Great Glasses Play Day 2015 »

Kids munch on snacks in their D.I.Y. eyewear at San Diego's 2015 GGPD event.

Great Glasses Play Day 2015 »

Kids pretending to be a Prevent Blindness vision screener at the Madison Children's Museum.