Vision screenings for local children set for next week

Published 11:25 am Friday, September 7, 2012

Since 2004, more than 2,300 students attending 23 Alabama colleges, universities, and high schools have screened over 145,000 children in Alabama for eye diseases and disorders as part of their affiliation with FocusFirst – a signature project of Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative.

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 state.

FocusFirst staff members plan to screen 310 children in Lowndes County on September 12, 2012, at the following locations:

  • 9/12/2012 at 9:00 a.m. Central Head Start, 141 Main Street, Hayneville, AL 36040.
  • 9/12/2012 at 9:00 a.m. Fort Deposit Head Start, 200 Gilmer Hills Road, Fort Deposit, AL 36032.
  • 9/12/2012 at 9:00 a.m. Jackson-Steele Head Start, 570 Freedom Road, Hayneville, AL 36040.

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A potential problem has been detected in approximately 11 percent of the Alabama children screened to date.

All results are professionally analyzed by Vision Research Corporation.

All children who fail the screening will receive fully subsidized follow up care, as necessary, under the supervision and coordination of Sight Savers America.

FocusFirst provides a cost-effective direct response to the vision problems of children who live in urban and rural communities in Alabama.

FocusFirst student volunteers travel to childcare centers in all 67 counties and conduct vision screenings for children, six months to five years of age, using state-of-the-art photo-screening technology.

Founder and President Stephen Black, a professor/attorney who developed the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama, founded Impact Alabama in the fall of 2004.

Impact Alabama now has 31 full-time team members working out of the nonprofit’s headquarters in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.

“We desperately need young people’s energies, perspectives, and talents to make our communities and institutions work well,” Black stated. “I see the college years as an incredible opportunity to engage students in addressing human and community needs through structured service opportunities, while providing them with a sense of their ability as well as responsibility to affect structural change.”

In Lowndes County, FocusFirst is sponsored by the Central Alabama Community Foundation. To learn more about Impact Alabama, please visit its website at or call Addie Mancuso at (205) 617-8723.