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Questions: Beverly Nichols, Grant Administrator, (913) 642-7520
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Kansas Lions, through the Kansas Lions Sight Foundation, have supported a statewide low vision project for children for ten years.  This project has been a partnership between Lions, the Kansas State School for the Blind, and the Kansas Optometric Association.  Now, as a result of a SightFirst Low Vision Grant, the partnership has been extended to include the Lions Club International Foundation.

At a SightFirst Advisory Committee meeting in August 2011, Kansas Lions were awarded a $71,000 grant—the first low vision grant awarded in the United States.  This grant will provide funds for additional low vision equipment for the offices of participating doctors, for training of a variety of stakeholders (doctors, educators, parents, and Lions), for publicity and communication—including creation of a website, and for evaluation of the project.

A requirement of the grant was evidence that Kansas Lions would be involved in the project in ways beyond financial contribution.  (The KLSF contribution is $10,000 a year.)  A major role for Kansas Lions is for all Lions to be cheerleaders for this area of eye care as they are in all other areas.  Lions can help spread the word to local eye care professionals and to educators about the availability of low vision evaluations.

In addition, Lions can help with low vision clinics that are held in various locations around the state.  While most low vision evaluations take place in doctors’ offices, these clinics are held in areas where there are several students in need of such an evaluation. It is more efficient to bring the clinic to them, rather than take individuals to an eye professional’s office.  What are some ways Lions can help in these clinics?

  • Provide transportation if requested (your own liability insurance must cover this)
  • Set up and break down clinic arrangements
  • Greet families and other individuals as they arrive
  • Register participants and see to the signing of all forms
  • Assist with siblings who might accompany parents
  • Run errands as needed by the individuals conducting the clinic

Being present at a clinic will give individual Lions the chance to observe evaluations and become much more knowledgeable about what is involved.  When observing Lions must remember that information about participants will always be confidential.

There are two types of clinics, Low Vision Evaluation Clinics and Pediatric Low Vision Collaborative Clinics.  The dates and locations for these clinics are posted on this website under Events and will be updated on an ongoing basis.  Lions in various areas of the state may be contacted in advance of a particular clinic to provide assistance.

If you’d like a program for your club about the KanLovKids project, e-mail Beverly Nichols at taximath@aol.com.  She or some other project representative can come to your club if distance is not prohibitive or Beverly can provide a PowerPoint presentation that you can use.