The Channahon Lions Club have been approved for a grant which will allow the club to move one step closer to the purchase of equipment to perform free eye screenings for children.
The club hopes to launch this new service at the Three Rivers Festival in Channahon which will take place on the Channahon Park District grounds Aug. 8 to 12.
Channahon Lions Club Past District Governor John O’Brien said a 50 percent grant came from the Lions Club International Foundation and the Channahon Lions will front the other 50 percent of the cost of equipment.
O’Brien said the funds have already been secured from past fundraisers. The machine cost will round out to $8,000, which will be split, and then another $1,000 cost for advertising materials, forms, a case for the machine and insurance will come out of the Channahon Lions Club fundraising money.
Members of the Channahon Lions Club will be trained to use the machine for eye screenings, and O’Brien stressed this was not an eye exam. He said the device has a smiley face on the lens for the child to look at for 10 seconds as the machine snaps pictures and checks the eyes.
The machine will offer results that can then be given to the parents to pursue any further eye testing with a professional.
The club hopes to be involved with the Three Rivers Festival as well as churches and public events in order to serve the Village of Channahon residents. The service was designed for preschool-aged children, but they can test older children as well.
“It’s important to catch kids before they get to school so they can focus and start reading prior to getting into school. We want the children to be functioning members of society and some parents may not know their child isn’t seeing properly,” O’Brien said.
The service organization runs solely on funds generated by fundraisers or working in the public and has the hopes to “empower volunteers to service their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs,” according to Lions Clubs International.
O’Brien said his wife, Reveneal O’Brien has taken the president seat at the Channahon Lions Club, which creates a good role model for women in service clubs such as Lions Clubs which typically have been seen as a men’s organization.
“We have 21 members and in two and a half years we have increased our membership by 75 percent, many young females,” O’Brien said. “We want to encourage more men and women to join, its’ not your father’s Lions Club anymore.”
O’Brien said he was excited to offer the eye screenings on top of the Diabetic Retinopathy screens, and hearing buses. The Channahon Lions also award three $1,000 scholarships to seniors at Minooka Community High School who chose a field related to the causes Lions Club supports. The deadline for scholarships ends in February 2018.
The club wants to do the most it the can for the Channahon community, but O’Brien said the public has to come out and want the free screenings.
“Our hope is to catch one kid with an eye issue which will allow them to be diagnosed and go through the proper channels to get the eyes corrected,” O’Brien said.
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