The students who visited camp on Tuesday had their vision screened on some of the most advanced equipment available
In its quest to make it possible for every student in West Central Florida to receive quality vision screening, the Glazer Family Foundation donated $50,000 worth of equipment to the Orange and Osceola County districts on Tuesday
Roughly 200 local students attended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training camp practice as guests of the Glazer Family Foundation on Tuesday morning, and they had some of the best seats in the house.
From their private set of bleachers near the 50-yard line of the nearest field, the kids could easily read every jersey number and see every blade of grass kicked up by the players' cleats.
And if they couldn't make out those details, they were about to find out why.
Over the course of the two-hour practice, each student took a break from the action to walk over to a nearby group of air-conditioned trailers. Inside, they found a sea of vision-testing equipment, manned by school nurses who had recently been trained on its use.
And, one by one, each of the 200 students had his or her eyes examined. With the new school year set to begin next week, these visitors to training camp were simply the tip of the iceberg. Soon every student in the Orange and Osceola County School Districts will receive the advantage of high-tech vision testing, thanks to the Glazer Family Foundation.
That's because all of the brand new equipment that was used for the test run on Tuesday morning was donated to the two school districts as part of the Foundation's ongoing quest to make vision screening available to every child in Florida. The program is now in its third year; after servicing Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties in 2006 and Pasco and Sarasota Counties in 2007, the Buccaneers this year turned to the school districts that service the area in which their training camp is located.
Vision screening is an issue that is near and dear to the hearts of the Glazer family. Buccaneers Owner/President Malcolm Glazer benefited greatly from vision testing as a child
"The Glazer Family Foundation is committed to ensuring that Florida's youth can learn in an environment where vision problems are no longer obstacles," said Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. "This program is instrumental in assisting children with early detection of vision troubles and enhancing their overall learning experience."
In all, the Foundation donated equipment valued at more than $50,000 on Tuesday. Representatives of the two county districts were given the opportunity to visit the manufacturers personally and choose the equipment that would best suit their needs.
The visitors to training camp on Tuesday had their visual acuity tested using three of the latest advances in vision screening technology: the Titmus i300, the Welch Allyn SureSight Vision Screener, and the Good-Lite Vision Box. After the tests, the children were given printouts to bring home to their parents to determine if further screening would be necessary.
Buccaneers Director of Community Relations Miray Holmes welcomed representatives from both school districts as well as the equipment manufacturers to practice along with the visiting students. Osceola County Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego, Orange County School Board Vice Chairman Joie Cadle and School Health Corporation Vice President Rob Rogers all witnessed the students undergoing their vision exams, and were left with a more optimistic view of the schools' future.
"It's so important for us to know that children are starting school – the very first day – with everything they need, especially with today's high-stakes testing," said Cadle. " If children can't see, they can't read. This community effort to make sure that children can see so that they can do their schoolwork will give them a good start for the new school year."
The Glazer Family Foundation will continue to provide screening equipment to two new school districts each year until every county in the Tampa Bay area receives the support it needs. The school districts in Osceola and Orange Counties were thrilled to be this year's recipients.
"I really believe the future of Central Florida is in the eyes of these young people," said Cadle. "We need to give them every chance they can have to be successful."