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Florida Panthers Help Kids Score Free Eye Exams And Glasses

Patch logo Patch 5/23/2019 Paul Scicchitano
a person sitting in front of a large teddy bear © Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media

NORTH MIAMI, FL — Stanley C. Panther, the cuddly mascot of the Florida Panthers, arrived at a Miami area elementary school Thursday to take the wraps off the team's new Mobile Eye Exam Unit.

The van pulled up to North Miami Elementary to deliver free eye exams and prescription glasses inside the newly refurbished mobile eye exam unit. The van has been dubbed the Florida Panther’s mobile unit.

“Glasses change lives and these children’s lives will be changed once they get their glasses," said Virginia Jacko, president and CEO of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. "This morning, we changed their outlook."

Her organization teamed up with the Florida Panther’s Foundation to provide the service for financially disadvantaged Florida students with a $25,000 donation from the Florida Panther’s Foundation. The exams are offered through the Florida Heiken Children Vision Program, which now has five mobile units.

Organizers said some of the children will receive eye care for the first time as a result of the program, which has a goal of visiting 800 schools and 24,000 students this year.

An estimated 14,000 Florida students do not have access to affordable eye care. Poor vision can interfere with school performance and diminish the child's overall quality of life, according to organizers.

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