|Five Award Winners Announced – 60th Annual Meeting of the Board
April 18, 2019
Prevent Blindness Wisconsin is pleased to announce five award winners and celebrate their achievements towards healthy vision for all Wisconsin residents. The awards will be presented at a dinner following the 60th Annual Meeting of the Board at the Town Club on May 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm. Tickets are available for $65 by calling (414) 765-0505 or registering online at https://wisconsin.preventblindness.org/60th-annual-meeting.
Kathy Backus, Children’s Screening Services Ascension Mercy Hospital Volunteers – The Gae Lach Sight Saver Award is presented annually in honor of Gae Lach. Her dedication to children’s vision health through her selfless volunteer service set an example for all Prevent Blindness Wisconsin volunteers.
Kathy Backus is a member of the Children’s Screening Services Ascension Mercy Hospital Volunteers in Oshkosh and has been a Certified Children’s Vision Screener with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin since the early nineties. She has been the dedicated Group Coordinator for this children’s vision screening group since 1992 and has “loved it ever since.”
In her role as Group Coordinator, Kathy supports certified vision screenings for approximately 1,000 children in Oshkosh childcare centers, preschools, private schools, and 4K programs. Throughout her years as a certified vision screener, Kathy has made healthy vision possible for tens of thousands of Oshkosh children. Kathy’s selfless service can be seen in how she credits her years of service to the members of the Children’s Screening Services volunteer group and says she has “stayed on all these years as vision screening coordinator because of our ladies. They are so accomplished each in her own right.”
You can find Kathy and her husband Len (high school sweetheart of 52 years), their three children, and four beautiful grandchildren in the Oshkosh area. Kathy enjoys using her green thumb in her garden, assisting her husband and son with their website business, and traveling.
Marathon County Health Department – The Children’s Healthy Vision Award recognizes a Children’s Program partner who makes children’s vision health a reality.
The Marathon County Health Department has been providing children with vision screenings for over 30 years and exemplifies the ideal children’s vision screening program. Their model supports children through the entire process, from a certified vision screening to follow-up vision care. All children in 4K, 5K, and grades 1, 2, 3, and 5 in addition to any new students or teacher referrals
in schools served by the Marathon County Health Department receive a certified vision screening. Marathon County Health Department knows that a vision screening does not end with just a referral, but that a comprehensive follow-up process is key to ensuring children get to vision care.
This past school year, the Marathon County Health Department ensured an incredible 84% of children who did not pass their vision screening received further vision care. To achieve this high rate of follow-up care, Vicki Anthony, the Program Coordinator, works with schools, parents, and eye doctors to ensure children have the support and resources needed to receive vision care. Marathon County Health Department’s successful follow-up method addresses barriers to vision care faced by families in Marathon County.
Racine Unified School District HOSA and Health Youth Apprenticeship Program – The 20/20 Service Award recognizes a program partner who sees clearly that healthy vision is possible only through collaborative partnerships.
Prevent Blindness Wisconsin and the Racine Unified School District (RUSD) Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and Health Youth Apprenticeship Program have partnered together since 2013 to ensure students in the Racine Unified School District receive quality vision screenings and vision health education. Students at J.I. Case, William Horlick, and Washington Park High Schools are certified as Children’s Vision Screeners through this partnership. These students are either member of HOSA, enrolled in the Health Youth Apprenticeship program, or both. Since the beginning of this partnership, more than 130 students have been certified as Children’s Vision Screeners. After training, students utilize their new skills to gain hands-on public health experience and give back to their school community by helping their school nurse provide vision screenings at elementary schools. This program supports healthy vision both now and in the future by providing vision screenings for current RUSD students while cultivating an interest in vision health among future healthcare professionals. At vision screening trainings through the University Partnership Program, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin staff have encountered RUSD Alumni who spoke fondly of their high school vision screening experiences. This program is truly a win-win for everyone, offering a unique collaborative experience which provides sustainable solutions to making vision health a priority in Racine!
Bread of Healing Clinic – The Adult Healthy Vision Award recognizes an Adult Program Partner who makes vision health for at-risk adults a priority.
The Bread of Healing Clinic is a Primary Care Medical Home for low income, uninsured individuals. Founded nineteen years ago, the clinic initially served adults with chronic medical conditions. Volunteers, working alongside a small group of paid staff, provide a wide range of services. The clinic has grown over the years and has both primary and specialty providers, as well as medical care coordination and social service navigation provided by the Resource Center team who serve about 2,000 clients annually.
The Bread of Healing Clinic has partnered with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin to help improve at-risk adults’ access to vision care through the Vision Care Voucher Program. This year, 57 low-income patients who are served by the Bread of Healing Clinic received a free voucher for an eye exam and glasses. The Bread of Healing Clinic goes above and beyond when helping their patients who qualify for Prevent Blindness Wisconsin’s voucher program access vision care, ensuring they have the resources and support needed to successfully navigate the vision healthcare system. Clinic social workers are dedicated to helping their patients through every step of the voucher process, from assisting with the application and gathering proof of income documents, to scheduling the appointment once approved. The Bread of Healing Clinic demonstrates the impact possible when a community partner is dedicated to making healthy vision a priority for the at-risk adults they serve.
Jeff Lemke – The Make a Difference Award recognizes an individual who Prevent Blindness Wisconsin staff feel is integral to the team and makes a difference by supporting our programs and services in the office and the community.
Jeff Lemke joined Prevent Blindness Wisconsin in the winter of 2017 as an office volunteer from the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) Medical Billing Certificate Program. Jeff gained his Technical Certificate in Medical Billing from MATC in 2018. In July 2018, he was hired as a part-time Prevent Blindness Wisconsin staff member through the Service, Employment, and Redevelopment National’s Senior Community Service Employment Program. Jeff provides in-office support assisting with data entry and training folder prep, essential behind the scenes day-to-day components of our sight-saving programs. Jeff is a veteran, serving in a combined service with the United States Army and Navy for 11 years. His dedication to service shows in his incredible work ethic, teamwork, and eagerness to try new tasks and learn new skills. Jeff recently became a Certified Adult Vision Screener and serves as a wonderful advocate for veterans at screening events, helping educate them on how to navigate the VA healthcare system and access vision care. Jeff’s positivity has radiated throughout our office and has brought even more joy to the work we do!
Join us in the celebration of these awardees and the work all of our volunteers and partners do to support our vision for each Wisconsin resident to have healthy vision at every stage of life at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Board & Reception on May 21, 2019.
|731 N. Jackson Street, Suite 405, Milwaukee, WI 53202