Sedro-Woolley, WA – Thanks to a local service club’s dedication to improving vision, Sedro-Woolley children with undiagnosed vision issues may be identified earlier by school nurses.
The Sedro-Woolley Lions Club received a 50/50 matching grant from the Northwest Lions Foundation allowing them to purchase the $8,000 spot screening device.
In March, Cascade Middle School Nurse and Lions Club member, Rose Torset started the ball rolling to get a new spot vision screening device for the school when she asked the school district if they could purchase the new screening device. There was no funding available, so she reached out to the Sedro-Woolley Lions Club. Rose’s sister-in-law, Carol Torset, knew the local club didn’t have the necessary $8,000.
“That’s a lot of money for our club,” Carol Torset said. “I ended up submitting a grant to the Northwest Lions Foundation.” The request for a 50/50 grant was approved within a week, she said. “Now they can test anyone in the school district.”
Sedro-Woolley District Nurse Jennifer Young, Sedro-Woolley High School Nurse Shannon Moore and Samish Elementary Nurse Heather Jackson were so impressed by the Lions generosity that they decided to join the local club. Now when they need help with vision screenings, they will have access to a strong volunteer network of dedicated Lions.
Young said the screening device is a huge time saver for the district nurses. The state changed all of the guidelines for the 2017–2018 school year and the vision kits available from the state were cumbersome and time-consuming.
“It took us a lot longer than it had in years past,” Young said.
State law mandates vision and hearing screenings for children enrolled in kindergarten, first, second, third, fifth and seventh grades.
“That’s a lot of time out of the classroom learning environment,” Young said.
With the new spot vision screener, the nurses can check a student’s vision in seconds. It screens and detects for six amblyopic risk factors in children as young as six months.
It also is incredibly useful when the nurses are screening special needs students.
“That’s huge,” Young said, “because a lot of times these students aren’t able to articulate what they’re able to see.”
The Sedro-Woolley School District is the first in the county to use this type of device. It will be used and stored by the school district, but it’s owned by the Lions Club. The club will use it to screen vision at local events, when it’s not in use by the school district.
Superintendent Phil Brockman said the partnership with the Lions Club is a win-win for the district.
“Our students are fortunate to have such a supportive service club in our community,” Brockman said. “The Lions do amazing work and this is just the latest contribution they have made to Sedro-Woolley schools.