Several years ago, our very own Sara Milstein (Chief Marketing & Advancement Officer) told me a story related to the time she used to teach in a program for high school kids who had gotten in trouble and needed extra academic support to get back on track. Sara told me about one boy who was constantly fooling around, seeming to be disinterested. However, she had a hunch about this kid. Her gut told her he was covering up something; that his behavior was a mask for another problem. She was right. She got him tested for vision and discovered he was almost legally blind. He couldn’t see the chalk board and had been hiding it all these years, and not surprisingly failing as a result.
What a gift Sara gave this young man. This story is a reminder of how easy it can be to take for granted some of the most fundamental things that can become barriers to learning and to success, particularly for kids whose families do not have even the most basic of resources.
At the Y, we are so grateful to our wonderful friends at the Towsontowne Rotary who launched vision screenings for all our Head Start children in Baltimore City and County. Through their See2learn program, volunteer Rotarians have been trained to do vision screening and are screening all 1,200 Y Head Start children in Baltimore City and County. Those who need glasses will be seen by volunteer eye doctors and given two free pair, one to keep in school and one for home!
In addition, volunteer literacy advocates will read to the children, and every child will take home a new book!
We are deeply grateful to the Towsontowne Rotary and their many project partners including, Rotary District 7620 (Central Maryland and Washington, D.C.), United Way of Central Maryland, Maryland Society for Sight, Maryland Optometric Association, the Ivy Bookshop, Henry and Jeannette Weinberg Libraries, and the Rotary clubs of Hunt Valley, Towson and Pikesville.
With their leadership, none of these kids will fall through the cracks for years like the young man my friend told me about. These 1,200 young children will see firsthand the caring community of which they are a part.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland