We would like to share our gratitude for our Community Volunteers who help us reach thousands of Wisconsin residents through support and vision screening efforts. Our network of 14 community volunteer groups began more than 25 years ago with a group of devoted Delta Gamma alumnae from the North Shore, South Shore, Lake Country and West Suburban communities. One of the late founders of these screening groups, Gae Lach, is remembered as we honor a Community Volunteer each year. In honor of Gae and her dedication to children’s vision health, this year’s recipients of the Gae Lach Award belong to the Ozaukee Volunteer Group. We thank Celeste Arnold and Marty Sutmiller for continuing Gae’s mission by serving the children in their community.
Gae Lach (Pictured:Far Left)
Groups of Community Volunteers dedicated to vision health eventually developed across the state. Today, our volunteer groups include: Children’s Screening Services-Oshkosh, Christ Child Society, Dane County, Lake Country, Menomonee Falls, Milwaukee Private Schools, New Berlin, North Shore, North Shore Catholic, Ozaukee, Racine, South Shore and West Suburban. During the 2019-2020 school year, individuals from each of these groups helped us reach 11,729 students throughout different licensed childcare centers and schools that do not have a professional dedicated to vision screening. Of those tested, 1,455 students were referred on for further care with an eye care professional. Without the service of Prevent Blindness Wisconsin’s Community Volunteers and their vision screenings, these vision problems would have gone undetected.
Over the last several months, we interviewed volunteers from each of our groups. Here is what they had to say about working with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin:
“I chose to become a volunteer for Prevent Blindness [Wisconsin] as a way of giving back to the organization that flagged our daughter in preschool. Thanks to that early intervention, our daughter’s vision was completely corrected by the end of grade school. I have enjoyed working so much with my team members who all have special reasons for their own participation. We have a great time screening the children!” – Sara Murphy – North Shore Catholic Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“Vision is so important for children to read and comprehend. In 1984, Sue, from Prevent Blindness Wisconsin, came to a Community League meeting and asked for volunteers to help with vision screening. I said, ‘Definitely!’ I thought it was a great opportunity to get involved.” – Sharon Johnson – Menomonee Falls Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“As an Early Childhood Professional, I know it is crucial for children to have their senses working well. Any problems with hearing and vision are not always detectable, so screening is so important.” – Sara Lubar – North Shore Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“I did not really think about vision until I was introduced to PBW, and since then I have learned a ton. I have a niece and nephew with vision problems, and one of my nephews had a vision problem caught so late in life that his vision was unable to be restored back to normal.” – Marge Pitnik – South Shore Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“My favorite part of vision screening is finding a vision problem on a child that no one else noticed. I think the training we get from PBW has been huge.” – Minna Smith – Ozaukee Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“Vision is so important because we know that it affects a child’s learning. How do kids who can’t see learn and do school?? Kids are at such a disadvantage when they can’t read the board. Important beyond belief.” – Linda Lueck – Milwaukee Private School Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“When I retired, I began looking for something to do. I had worked in the medical field and was looking for a volunteer experience in that area. Vision screening helps identify kids who need help with their vision and gets them to the care they need.” – Tom Cloyd – Racine County Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“Early intervention is so important, so helping in that way is the best part!” – Lori Fuchs – Lake Country Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“I have been involved with vision screening for approximately 14 years. Children need to be able to see. It is the basis for all the things they do while learning and playing. It enables them to be productive human beings. I love to see the little children and know that our vision screening can make a difference in their lives. If our screening uncovers a problem, we can start them on the path to solve the problem.” -Jean Phelan – Christ Child Society Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“I love the mission of early intervention of eye problems in students. I love having the support and professional guidance provided by Prevent Blindness Wisconsin. I think equally important to the above noted items is the friendships I have formed over the years with the
women who are involved in our group. They are also so proud of the work we do.” –Kathy Backus – Children’s Screening Services- Oshkosh
“I became involved with PB by answering a local paper ad looking for volunteers to screen young children, and since I taught 1st graders for 30+ years, I thought this is something I could do. Detection of eye problems is extremely important; if you can’t see, you probably will have a difficulty succeeding in school. This could lead to many other problems, social as well as academic.” – Carol Kretzer – New Berlin Volunteer Vision Screening Group
“I was looking for a volunteer opportunity after retirement; something with kids of almost any age was in my mind. Also, being a glasses wearer since I was 13 made me sympathetic to families who may be unfamiliar with kids who need vision help. I saw the WI State Journal section with opportunities in Madison, and started after that. My favorite part of vision screening is kids, of course. Each is unique and open and honest. They are the best; I would just stay there all day. But it has also helped me appreciate child care teachers and staff who are so important to families and their kids’ success. I was that parent who needed them once, and it was good to be reminded of their role in families’ lives.” – Jean Nothnagel – Dane County Volunteer Vision Screening Group
We could not do the work we do without the help of our volunteers. Thank you for your continued support of Prevent Blindness Wisconsin and our mission to help ensure each Wisconsin resident has healthy vision at every stage of life. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a PBW volunteer please reach out to [email protected] or call 414-765-0505.
Save the date for the 40th Annual Celebrity Waiter’s Dinner!
We are bringing the Celebrity Waiters Dinner to YOU! Join us VIRTUALLY for the 40th Annual Celebrity Waiters Dinner on Wednesday, October 14. View the live one-hour long broadcast from wherever you are and participate in the silent auction, live auction, paddle raise and more! You won’t want to miss this unique event!
Prevent Blindness Wisconsin’s annual fundraiser is fast approaching, and this year poses a great challenge. Traditionally, we have been able to meet, greet, and celebrate together the good work accomplished over the past year. A highlight has always been the generous appearance of the Milwaukee Admirals as our Celebrity Waiters and the energy they literally bring to the table. We have been able to properly honor those individuals and corporations who have played an especially important role in furthering our mission for each Wisconsin resident to have healthy vision at every stage of life. And, in the end, we have come together to raise a significant portion of the funds needed for Prevent Blindness Wisconsin to continue our critical work.
We still believe in 2020 as the year of 20/20 vision and ask for your continued support as we meet virtually on October 14th from 7:00-8:00 pm. The children and adults of Wisconsin are counting on the services of PBW and we are counting on you.
Please join us as we honor Wisconsin School Nurses with our Community Partner Award, celebrate our Preschool Ambassador Noelle, and thank all who continue to make the work we do possible.
With your help, we can make this Celebrity Waiters Dinner the single most important hour of 2020! To register for the event (it’s free), and to place your order for a Supper Club in a Box and Old Fashioned in a Box, please click on the following link: one.bidpal.net/cwd2020/ticketing(details:ticketing-summary)
According to the National Eye Institute, every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. However, 90% of these eye injuries could be prevented by wearing appropriate protective eye wear. Before enrolling your child in a sports program, be sure to equip them with the necessary protective gear.
Tips on How Can You Prevent Sports-Related Eye Injuries
Be aware that regular eye glasses or contact lenses do not provide enough protection when playing sports. These should not be used as a source of ‘eye protection’ during sport-related activities. If your child wears prescription lenses, ask your eye doctor to fit them for prescription eye guards.
Wear proper safety lenses while playing sports. It is strongly recommended to purchase polycarbonate eye guards/lenses. These are the strongest, most impact resistant lenses and are shatterproof and provide UV protection.
When purchasing, ensure the lenses stay in place and are able to pop outwards upon impact.
Lenses/eye guards should be labeled as ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) approved. Each sport has an ASTM standard; check the packaging of the protective eyewear before purchasing to ensure they are approved for your designated sport.
Each product should have an ASTM code on it; if the product does do not have an ASTM code on their packaging, we highly encourage to not purchase the product.
Use ASTM helmets and face shields approved for your individual sport to make sure you are receiving the proper amount of protection needed. These are typically used in sports such as baseball, football, and field hockey.
If your child does suffer from a sports-related eye injury:
Do not assume the eye injury is harmless; seek immediate medical attention
Do not touch, rub, or rinse the eye; this could cause more damage to the injury
We want everyone to stay safe and have fun! Speak with your child’s doctor before enrolling them in a sport. Good luck to our fall athletes!
Our Mission: Founded in 1958, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin improves the lives of children, adults and families through early detection of eye conditions to prevent blindness and preserve sight. On-going vision screening activities and state-wide public health education lead to a lifetime of healthy vision.
Our Vision: Our vision is for each Wisconsin resident to have healthy vision at every stage of life.