“Can you see me now?”
That’s the question students at Cristo Rey Kansas City heard when they received their first pair of eyeglasses.
As a school nurse, I wear many hats. I am always on the hunt for opportunities and resources that will improve our students’ health and quality of life. From routine screenings to developing action plans for chronic conditions, school nurses are always busy. Because Cristo Rey exclusively serves students with high economic need – whose families frequently are uninsured — the school nurse’s office is the hot corner!
In partnership with the Health Forward Foundation, Cristo Rey is able to provide a full-time school nurse and counselor. For many of our students and their families, we are the front line for basic health care. This partnership opens doors to:
- action plans for students with special health care needs, resulting in decreased absences
- onsite treatment, returning students to class in over 90 percent of all health and counseling office referrals
- individual and group counseling, raising awareness of coping skills and ensuring that students in crisis receive support
- routine screenings, leading to referrals to community resources
- health education, inspiring healthier behaviors and choices
This fall during routine screenings, I identified 10 students most likely in need of eyeglasses. I turned to OneSight, an international vision care provider that mobilizes eye care professionals. Students referred to OneSight received comprehensive eye exams and new, top-quality glasses, allowing them to see, look, and feel good.
The teenage years are a period of physical changes that can lead to the need for glasses for the first time. No surprise, teenagers are not putting their hands up to wear glasses. Parents are often surprised and say, “Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t see?” The reason is that the child didn’t KNOW that they couldn’t see until their vision was checked at school.
When she first tried on her new glasses, one student did not even question how she looked. She was excited to finally see clearly. Her reaction confirmed just how much she needed vision care!
Students and parents at Cristo Rey are grateful to the Health Care Foundation for the many life-changing resources that this partnership provides. From students who can finally see a blackboard clearly to directing a parent to vital resources for the treatment of a chronic condition, in my hot corner, we aim to keep everyone healthy at Cristo Rey!
Editor’s note: Hear from a Cristo Rey student who is the proud wearer of her first pair of glasses!