‘important for our schools and communities to have access to this type of vision screening’

RSU 40 nurses, Lions Clubs raise funds to purchase vision screener

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 6:15pm

    UNION — Since last June, nurses in Regional School Unit 40 (Friendship, Union, Waldoboro, Warren and Washington) have been hard at work raising funds to purchase a Spot Vision Screener through the Maine Vision and Hearing Foundation. The goal is to purchase one by the end of the calendar year. 

    “Many of our children live in rural areas, thus it is so important for our schools and communities to have access to this type of vision screening,” said Michele Cooney, a nurse at Union Elementary and Prescott Memorial schools. said. “The RSU 40 Nurses and Waldoboro Lions Club members have recognized this need and have been working diligently together to provide a tool for earlier detection of common vision difficulties, thus earlier referrals to help our youth improve their health and academic readiness to learn.”

    Working in conjunction with the Waldoboro Lions Club, the district’s four nurses need to raise $6,800 before the end of 2019; they have $1,500 left to collect. 

    The purchase needs to take place by Dec. 31 to capitalize on this year’s rates and coupons, according to Cooney. 

    The RSU 40 nurses and Waldoboro Lions Club are planning to create a vision team to be trained in Spot’s management and usage guidelines to provide vision screenings throughout the RSU 40 district, as well as surrounding communities, such as Boothbay and Damariscotta.

    RSU 40 comprises Friendship Village, Medomak Middle, Medomak Valley High, Miller Grade, Prescott Memorial, Union Elementary, Rivers Alternative Middle and Warren Community schools. 

    “We would be able to screen for double vision and lazy eye among other vision difficulties that we school nurses cannot currently screen for,” said Cooney. 

    Current state law indicates vision tools may be used with children under the age of five, according to Cooney, and those with emotional and physical difficulties who might benefit from this tool. 

    The Spot Vision Screener is a handheld, portable device designed to help quickly and easily detect vision issues on patients, according to an online product description

    The product is advertised as easy to use, and uses lights and sounds to help engage children. 

    To date, the fundraising campaign has received donations from the Waldoboro Lions Club, the Maine Vision and Hearing Foundation, the Boothbay Region Lions Club and the Damariscotta/Newcastle Lions Club. Additional funds have been raised through community donations, including a fundraiser at Moody’s Diner ahead of Thanksgiving. 

    Those interested in making donations to the campaign may contact Cooney at m.cooney10@twc.com or 860-559-3240.

    Reach George Harvey at: sports@penbaypilot.com