The Buccaneers unveiled their new vision mobile on Tuesday.
Today, Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz and Buccaneers three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle and Glazer Family Foundation Vision Program spokesperson Gerald McCoy gathered with students and teachers at Twin Lakes Elementary School, one of 24 Tampa-based Buccaneers Academies, to unveil the brand new Bucs Vision Mobile, powered by the Glazer Family Foundation.
"The new Bucs Vision Mobile will take the Glazer Family Foundation's vision services to the next level," said Glazer Kassewitz. "The continued health and wellness of the children in our community is important to us, and that includes ensuring that students have the resources to see clearly. We are eager to get the new Bucs Vision Mobile out on the road to support the students at our Buccaneers Academies as well as elementary schools throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas counties."
A fun, interactive mobile eye clinic for children, the Bucs Vision Mobile visits 60 Title I elementary schools in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties each year to assist with vision screenings and administer eye exams. In 2014 alone, the Vision Mobile provided more than 1,800 pairs of free eyeglasses to Tampa Bay-area youth. Since the program's inception in 2009, the Bucs Vision Mobile has screened over 10,000 children and by the end of this season will have given out more than 9,000 pairs of eyeglasses.
The brand new Buccaneers-themed vehicle, which was completely customized by Lazydays RV, includes a rebranded exterior with engaging, interactive, kid-friendly features. The 40-foot mobile eye clinic was showcased to local students and teachers for the very first time with the help of McCoy, a proud wearer of eyeglasses.
"I know firsthand how important clear vision is, because without my glasses I wouldn't be able to see," said McCoy. "I always want to remind children that it's not only okay to wear glasses, it's a cool thing to do. And the fact that the Buccaneers are providing them to these students for free, with the help of an awesome vision mobile like this – that's something I'm really proud to be a part of."
Among the 60 elementary schools visited by the Bucs Vision Mobile are the Buccaneers Academies – the team's long-term commitment to supporting generations of students in the Bay Area. Currently at 24 schools in Hillsborough County and growing, the Buccaneers Academy program aims to inspire, equip and celebrate young students through academic assistance, PLAY 60 programming, distribution of back-to-school backpacks, fitness zones, and much more. To date, more than 14,000 students and 1,000 teachers have benefitted from the program. In addition to the educational curricula, students at these schools also receive the opportunity to attend Buccaneers games as the team's special "Gameday for Kids" guests, as well as visits from the Bucs Vision Mobile, and a Buccaneers-themed covered play court to provide children the ability to play outdoors without risking overexposure to the sun.
The Vision Mobile is an extension of the Vision Program, a health initiative launched by the Glazer Family Foundation and the late owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Malcolm Glazer, who benefitted from vision services when he was a student. From 2006-2009, the Glazer Family Foundation's Vision Program donated vision screening equipment throughout the Tampa Bay area to help identify vision problems for children within local schools. In 2009, the Foundation introduced the Vision Mobile in an effort to strengthen it's commitment to correcting vision-related struggles for students.
The brand new, state-of-the-art Bucs Vision Mobile has been provided with the support of Lazydays RV, an official sponsor of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the RV Authority and the world's largest RV dealership.