Vision Grants by The Pokagon Fund Focus on Healthy Eyes for Harbor Country® Youth and Seniors

(New Buffalo, MI) With the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the need for comprehensive eye examinations and follow-up care for students who have vision related reading problems was the primary focus of two recent grants by The Pokagon Fund.

In recognition of a significant initiative by the New Buffalo Area Schools to provide vision care, the Fund awarded $7,000 in support of a $25,000 school program to identify students who suffer from disorders of eye focusing (accommodation) and eye teaming (vergence).

Recent studies suggest that 5-10% of school-aged children are afflicted with these disorders which may occur even when a student has 20/20 eyesight. Moreover, these disorders may not fit into the accepted categories of problems that adversely impact a student's school performance such as a specific learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or language-based dyslexia. Without being identified through specific testing, problems related to eye teaming or eye-focusing problem often cause a student to struggle in school.

In providing this vision care, New Buffalo Area Schools will be partnering with Smoke Vision Center, a full service eye care facility located in New Buffalo, for eye examinations and with ChromaGen Vision LLC, a Pennsylvania-based company, in order to use its unique and proprietary system of 16 different tinted lenses that can be embodied in a contact lens or worn as eyeglasses to improve vision.   In thanking The Pokagon Fund for its support, School Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Leslie stated, “The goal of the New Buffalo Area Schools is to increase student achievement and a love of reading by eliminating focusing and vergence issues. We are grateful to The Pokagon Fund for its long-term support of youth vision and, in particular, its support for this program.”

Continuing its support for the New Buffalo Lion’s Club Vision Program, the Fund awarded a grant of $30,000 to provide vision care to all youths in Harbor Country® from the age of six months through High School and to Harbor Country seniors based upon economic need. The program provides both a comprehensive eye examination and eyeglasses.

The commitment of the New Buffalo Lions Club to vision care reflects a national initiative by the Lions Club International with which the local Lions Club is affiliated. Recently, Joseph Preston of Dewey, Arizona, a Past President of Lions Club International stated that its Project KidSight USA is intended to “help families protect the eye health of their children. It builds on our proud history of saving sight and our belief that all children deserve to see the world clearly. With the help of Lions, we hope they will.”

In preparing its grant application, Migs Murray, the President of the New Buffalo Lions Club stated that, “The Pokagon Fund Vision Grant will continue to allow for services that can improve eyesight of the entire community which is an extraordinary project with results that are far reaching for generations to come.  The Pokagon Fund Vision Grant has been and will be a wonderful acknowledgement of The Pokagon Fund's generosity to the people of the service area.”

Janet Cocciarelli, the Executive Director of The Pokagon Fund, expressed the Fund’s appreciation for the work of the Lions Club. “Since 2011 over $450,000 has been awarded to the Lions Club to provide vision care to Harbor Country residents. The effect on the lives of those who have been given improved eyesight is immeasurable.”