In 1988 Lions Clubs international and LensCrafters Foundation teamed up to collect used eyeglasses.  Since then, Give the Gift of Sight has expanded into a family of visions programs that provides free eye care and glasses to those in need in communities accross the United States and Canada. Gift of Sight programs include eyeglass collection and recycling, Hometown Day, Sight Night, International Missions to developing countries, Vision Vans and special price vouchers. 

This family of charitable vision care programs is sponsored by LensCrafters Foundation and Luxottica Retail.  LensCrafters Foundation partners with Lions Clubs International and other local charities on many Gift of Sight programs.

The idea for the District 1-A Vision First Program came into focus when it was discovered that large amounts of Chicago Public School students who were attending school and did poorly in their studies simply because they needed glasses but could not afford them.  The idea of a joint venture with LensCrafters was brought to a cabinet meeting in 2004 and after passing, the Lions got involved.  There are usually two screening sessione each year, held at the Jefferson School in Chicago and with an average of 5,000 students during each of the two (2) week sessions, more than 10,000 students are screened.  Past history has shown that close to 80% of the students were in need of some type of visual assistance.

Thanks to individual donations from District 1-A Lions Clubs and an LCIF Grant, special equipment was purchased and used in the screening and preparation of glasses for the students found to be in need.

The fall of 2009 begins the 5th year of the Children's Eye Clinic and District 1-A Lions Clubs in partnership with CCIS, CPS, Unite for Sight and Luxottica, will again swing into action to help to put eye glasses on over 5,000 students to be screened at each of the two sessions.  The goal for 2009 is to have 600 volunteers to help out during the two (2) week period at each clinic.

Since its beginning, the Gift of Sight, Vision First Program through LensCrafters and Luxottica has screened over 5,000,000 students around the United states and the joy on the face of a child who suddenly realizes he or she can see the blackboard makes you understand completely why you are a Lion Volunteer.


For more information on the Fall Screening Program beginning on October 12 and ending on October 23, contact Lion Mike Smigielski at

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