Alabama State University Biology Students Partner with FocusFirst for Kids’ Eye Screenings.
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on December 10, 2018 |
Biology honor students at Alabama State University are participating in a service-learning program for local school students whose goal is to identify vision problems among Alabama preschoolers.
Students in ASU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM), have been volunteering with FocusFirst Initiative, a nationwide program, which conducts vision screenings for preschool-aged children. This is the 10th year that the University's STEM students have volunteered to help identify eye-related issues in local pre-schoolers.
ASU was the first of Alabama’s Historically Black College and Universities to become involved with the program.
Dr. Kartz E. Bibb, associate professor at ASU and coordinator of the program began the partnership with Stephen Black, founder and president of ImpactAlabama, now ImpactAmerica, in 2008. The FocusFirst Initiative has provided vision screenings for approximately 2,000 children in Montgomery-area early childhood centers this month alone.
Bibb said the students learn about the anatomy of the eye and how visual information is processed while providing an invaluable service to the community.
“The mission of FocusFirst is to provide a cost-effective, direct response to the vision problems of underprivileged children in Alabama and other states, who live in urban and rural poverty,” Bibb said. “FocusFirst strives to ensure that these children, ages two to five, begin their education with the best vision medically possible.
In 2017-2018, according to ImpactAmerica (https://impactamerica.com/focusfirst/), over 534,588 children have been screened. FocusFirst provided vision care to 48,500 children in Alabama alone in 2016-2017. Impact America’s Service-Learning Programs Provide vision care to 87,000 preschoolers through volunteers.
Impact Alabama, supported in large part by an AmeriCorps grant, is the state’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and implementing substantive service-learning projects in coordination with select universities and colleges throughout the country.
Vision screenings were held by ASU students at the following Montgomery locations:
Taylor Road Head Start - Seth Johnson Elementary
Kinder Care Learning Center - Gibbs Village Head Start
Kershaw Head Start - New Horizons Preschool
New Home Head Start - Kingdom Seekers Worship Center
Resurrection OSR Catholic Preschool - Faulkner University Pre-K
YMCA Cleveland Avenue OSR Pre-K - YMCA Good Times Center
Transformation OSR Preschool - All About Kids Learning Development Center
Auburn University at Montgomery Early Childhood Center - YMCA Tulane Gardens Preschool
Edgemont Head Start - First United Methodist Montgomery
Cobblestone Learning Center
**Office of School Readiness
FocusFirst is a collaborative effort among campuses across America, Vision Research Corporation, Sight Savers of Alabama, the Success by Six program of the United Way of Central Alabama and the Alabama Head Start Association.
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