Thanks to the efforts of the Stow Lions Club, specifically Lions Richard Bonczek, Ed Brown, Dick and Jean DeMilia, Grace DeMore, Jon and Betty French, Ericka Gentuso-Carr, babysitter Susan Gentuso, Lew Halprin, Arnie and Judy Johnson, Richard Mortenson and driver Mike Gentuso, the District 33K Lions Eyemobile screened more than 2,000 children over a period of four weeks.
The Nashoba Regional School District was faced with the overwhelming responsibility of performing vision and hearing screening for about 900 middle school children. The state mandated the screening without providing any additional funding or staffing. This year, the Stow Lions anticipate screening more than 2,000 students from kindergarten through high school. This presented numerous problems and without sufficient funding, these screenings might not have been completed. The Stow Lions in fulfilling the Lions mission to help eradicate preventable blindness stepped up to the plate.
What needed to be done
In order to participate in these screenings, the Lions Clubs members would each have to undergo a CORI check. These background checks are required for anyone who will be working one-on-one with children anywhere in Massachusetts by Mass Laws: MGL c.6, s. 167-178B. In addition, all volunteers would have to be trained to use the equipment on the District 33K Lions Eyemobile.
Scheduling to be done
Coordinating with the school nurses, the Stow Lions Club scheduled screenings at the at the Hudson schools, the Hale School (Stow), Lancaster, Bolton and Nashoba High School. The schedule worked like this:
Day one: Training and Orientation – while the equipment in the Eyemobile does not require professionals, it is important that those who are using the equipment be trained to use it properly. This allows the screeners to feel comfortable using the equipment as well as understand the resutts they are getting.
Day two through four: 503 children were screened in four days. The screenings included visual acuity as well as hearing. It is important to note that all of the results of these screenings must be recorded to allow the school nurses to follow up on any results that are outside of normal range.
During the second week
Because the volunteers had already received training, the Stow Lions were able to screen an additional 604 students during the week. This required two people to work on the acuity machines, one on the hearing machine, another volunteer to collect the students information and someone to direct traffic.
Nearing completion: Week three:
Day one: Moving to the Nashoba School District, the Lions held another training and orientation session for new volunteers. Again, this is necessary part of using the District 33K Eyemobile to ensure the best possible outcome.
Day two and three: At the Hale School in Stow, 323 children in grades 5 and 7 were screened by the Stow Lions Club volunteers.
Day three and four: 249 tenth grade students at Nashoba High School were screened.
And the end is in sight!Week four:
Since there was no training required, the Stow Lions were set to go from day one of week four. This time they moved to Stow, Bolton and Lancaster.
The results were that on Monday, 187 fourth grade students at the Center School in Stow were screened, Tuesday and Wednesday the Eyemobile was in Bolton where 260 students in grades four and five were screened. As the week ended, the Lions were in Lancaster where the entire student body in grades four and seven in Lancaster were screened.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of the volunteers from the Stow Lions Club, the parent volunteers who helped with registrations and the District 33K Lions Eyemobile, in total 2,379 students were screened over a two week period. Once again, the Stow Lions Clubs have lived up to the Lions motto of “We Serve” and proved how much work can be accomplished when Lions work together to serve their community.