Philadelphia Eagles "Eye Mobile" stops by Racine's Horlick High School

Posted at 1:40 PM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-30 19:29:06-05

RACINE -- The Philadelphia Eagles "Eye Mobile" was in Racine Tuesday to give kids free eye exams and glasses.

The Eagles Charitable Organization made the stop at Safety Chris Maragos' alma mater; Horlick High School. It's a program that aims provide vision services to children in need and give them the ability to see clearly. 

"It's important for all kids, not just kids in Philadelphia," Rachel Weiner, Director of Vision Programs for the Eagles Charitable Foundation said. "It doesn't matter what ZIP code you're in. We know vision care is important for all kids."

Not only was the exam free, the kids who needed prescription eyeglasses got them for free -- in a number of different stylish varieties. 

But there was no real waiting for the eyewear. The kids got them in under 20 minutes thanks to a large machine that cuts the lenses quickly and fit the specific student who needs them. All of this helps get them back into the classroom quicker and better prepared to learn. 

"I squint a lot in my classes," Breanna Oldcoyote, a junior said. "I need that."

"I can't really see the board," Shanya Stewart, a freshman said. "I always try to sit in the front so I can see more."

"My mom can't really afford this," Chase Gallo, a freshman said. "So it's nice to be able to have this."

One in four school children has a vision problem that affects their ability to learn. The Eagles Charitable Foundation says of those who have a vision problem and 60 percent of public school students who fail their state-mandated eye exam do not receive the necessary follow-up care they require. So the program is bringing everything into focus for the students to become better. 

"When we put a pair of glasses on one student, she put them on, took them off, put them on, took them off and said, oh my gosh," Weiner said. "Can you all see like this? It's so clear. We can see the transformation in minutes. It's incredibly rewarding."

The eye mobile screens about 5,000 kids per year in the Philadelphia area. On this mobile trip, they're making four stops at players' former schools in Illinois, Wisconsin and North Dakota. On Monday, they provided 50 students in Illinois free glasses and anticipate much of the same here in Wisconsin. 

"Just like our players wear helmets and pads and they need to practice to do well on the field, our kids need to wear their glasses to do well in the classroom and succeed on their practice field," Weiner said. "In the classroom."

This won't be their final stop in Wisconsin. On Wednesday, they will make a stop at Riverside University High School in Milwaukee, where Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Lineman Brandon Brooks is a graduate.