California Lions Friends in Sight
Restoring Vision – Preventing Blindness
At California Lions Friends in Sight we educate, restore vision, and prevent blindness for thousands of disadvantaged men, women and children. This work is made possible by caring volunteers donating their time, talent and treasure to deliver the “Gift of Sight”.
Affiliated with Lions Clubs International, California Lions Friends in Sight is an all-volunteer stand-alone 501c3 charitable organization headquartered in Beaumont, California. With financial support and the donation of eye examination equipment and supplies from generous donors, volunteers carry out the mission by providing free vision screenings and free recycled eyeglasses to thousands of disadvantaged individuals throughout Southern California and Northern Mexico.
Our primary goals are to educate the public on vision related matters, to address the functional forms of visual impairment by providing eyeglasses closely matched to a screening refraction, and to assess for ocular health conditions that could lead to visual impairment, including blindness. Individuals with a medical and/or surgical need diagnosed by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist are counseled and directed to seek care.
We conduct more than 30 doctor-led screenings each year in an area stretching east to west from Blythe to Oxnard, and south to San Diego. Five weekend-long screenings are conducted in Northern Mexico. Last fiscal year we screened 12,036 people, provided eyeglasses to 9,461, and advised more than 675 to seek medical or surgical care.
Still, more screenings are needed and we at California Lions Friends in Sight have an important role to play to provide them. We have an ongoing need to add new volunteers and to raise funds to achieve this goal.
Our teams of volunteers come from many different walks of life and while many are Lions Club members, everyone is welcome to share their time and talent for this wonderful cause. We are a dedicated group of people helping those in need to experience the gift of sight.
There are a variety of activities and positions at each screening for volunteers to choose and a team of experienced volunteers to help new arrivals get started. Volunteers guide patients between stations, operate automated testing instruments, assist doctors, help patients with eyeglass selection, eyeglasses inventory management, and help in the optician’s section where the patient’s “new” eyeglasses are dispensed.
Our events would not be possible without dedicated volunteers working before and after each screening. We collect, sort, clean, verify and categorize donated eyeglasses and operate our own optical edging lab. Other volunteers raise funds, produce public relations communications, maintain the vehicles and equipment, and organize eyeglasses and supplies needed for each screening.