Annual Holiday Appeal – Make Your Gift Today!

This holiday season, your Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation’s (OLSHF) annual appeal is featuring a letter from our very own youth spokesperson, Ella Osborne. Together, we are determined to provide essential sight and hearing saving program support for all adults and children in need. OLSHF can only accomplish our goals with your support. Your financial gift of any size is urgently needed. Securely donate online, on mobile (text “HolidayGift” to #91999), or contact our office for help. Thank YOU!

Hi! My name is Ella Osborne, I’m 9 years old, and I hope that you and your family have a Happy Holiday Season. My family loves everything about the Holidays: The pretty ornaments and wrapped packages, the smiles on everyone’s faces and seeing all the beautiful lights and displays…oh, and especially hoping it will snow!

I’m lucky to be able to see these things since I was born with a cataract and amblyopia – which some people call a lazy eye. I’m really lucky that my vision issues were caught early and my family was able to provide me the help I needed. Some kids aren’t so lucky. 

That’s why I’ve teamed up with the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation to help kids that need support with vision screening, eye exams, and new eyeglasses. In addition to my own fundraising every May, the Vision Fun Run, I’ve testified at the Oregon Legislature to pass SB 187, which now provides some funding for vision screening in Oregon schools. That was a blast!

Will you join me in helping kids like Jack, a 7-year old that OLSHF recently screened? Jack’s Mom said “My son has trouble with sensory directions…the handheld cameras are the best ever. Early testing can really impact kid’s learning levels.”

When you support the Foundation you are also ensuring Lions have the funding to make eyeglasses for kids. The LEAP Lab staff even let me edge a pair of glasses!

Your support reaches kids with special needs, kids like Richard, who is only 5 years old. Normal glasses didn’t work very well for Richard because he could hurt himself but the LEAP Lab staff found a flexible plastic frame that was safe for Richard. His Mom told us “with his enhanced vision and new eyeglasses Richard is happier and doing well.

“Your support of the Foundation also helps grown-ups like Pamela. “As a kid, I would get accused of cheating in school because a friend would show me what was on the paper so I could see what the other kids were learning. It was terrifying to be sent to the Principals office as if I had done something wrong when actually I just couldn’t see. Thanks to the Lions, I now have the confidence and ability to safely move around. Now I can actually see.” 

Did I mention that I hope it will snow during the holidays? Just like no two snowflakes are alike, no two kids are alike either. We’re all different and some of us need more help than others. Will you join in this cause with me to bring hope to kids during the holidays?

Happy 100th Birthday!

As most of us Lions are aware, 2017-18 marks the 100 year anniversary of Lions Clubs International, and a host of events and projects have been held and are planned to celebrate the milestone during this Lions year.

Happy Birthday, Marguerite!
Another Centennial celebration much closer to home pertains to the 100th Birthday of our very own Marguerite Hofferber. Oregon Lions that were active in the 1980’s and earlier remember Marguerite as the first woman Chair of the Foundation, leading the organization in 1988-89. Marguerite was honored for her lifetime accomplishments with the Foundation by being inducted into the OLSHF Hall of Fame in 2010. Marguerite is as modest as she is amazing, telling the audience that evening “When I think of all of the fellas that have done such an outstanding job for the Foundation, and how I see this award that you have presented to me, all I can feel is…flabbergasted.”

A Life of Service
Here at OLSHF, we’re not the least bit flabbergasted that Marguerite has made it to the age of 100. Up until just a few years ago, Marguerite continued to volunteer on a weekly basis at the OLSHF offices, sorting eyeglasses and hearing aids and helping out in the office. She even drove herself to OLSHF and to her daily workout, staying in shape and keeping her sharp wit. “Staying active keeps me out of trouble,” Marguerite says, with a twinkle in her eye.

A Way to Honor Marguerite
Something else that will give Marguerite and her family joy is having Lions honor her 100th Birthday by making a donation to OLSHF. To commemorate the Centennial Birthday, gifts of $100 are encouraged although donations of any amount are appreciated:

“I’ve always believed every little bit helps!” declares Marguerite.

There are a variety of ways to make your “Marguerite 100 Gift” and all gifts will be recognized in next month’s edition of the Oregon Lion. To make your gift, please choose from the following:

  1. Mail your gift to OLSHF at 1010 NW 22nd Ave, #144, Portland OR 97007 and put “Marguerite 100” in the memo line, OR
  2. Click here to securely DONATE online, OR
  3. Text “Hoff100” to #41444

Thanks in advance for your gifts in honor of Marguerite and most importantly, Happy Birthday, Marguerite!

SB 187 PASSES UNANIMOUSLY!

We’re thrilled to provide an update on the status of SB 187 and the successful advocacy effort that took place during the 2017 Oregon Legislative session. As many are aware, in early July the Bill was voted on in both the Senate and the House and in both cases SB 187 was passed unanimously!

In fact, including the Senate Education Committee Hearing on February 14th, the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee meeting on June 14th, and the full Ways and Means Committee meeting on June 28th, the Bill was passed unanimously in every vote that took place.

 

Oregon Lions and OLSHF Staff filled two hearing rooms on June 14th, as SB 187 was heard in Ways and Means Education Committee. The Bill was moved out of committee unanimously, with a “Do Pass” recommendation.

The Bill was signed into law by Governor Brown and OLSHF has requested a ceremonial Bill signing ceremony with the Governor. We will notify Oregon Lions if this is granted so that you can take part in a celebratory occasion at the State Capitol in Salem. There are a number of requests for ceremonial signings and it may be weeks or even months before this might take place. We will keep Lions in the loop as we learn more on this.

 

The success that OLSHF has had in advocating for public funding certainly is due in large part to the increased awareness that legislators have for OLSHF, Lions, and the accurate and efficient vision screening process provided by MHSP. However, it is important that you all know that it is because of the work that Lions have done throughout the state – in large schools and especially in Oregon’s smaller schools – that has raised the awareness of the need for vision screening in schools AND enhanced the credibility of OLSHF’s ability to screen accurately and efficiently. This Bill would not have passed without Lions and the work that we have done since OLSHF expanded our school vision screening program.

For that, we THANK YOU for your dedication to children’s vision health and for your passion for the MHSP school vision screening program.

At this time, OLSHF is working with the Oregon Department of Education to develop administrative rules for how public funding can be used. Some key details for you to know are:

  • The new law will create a Vision Health Fund and will have $1 million for the two-year biennium that began July 1st
  • The Oregon Department of Education is authorized to use up to 10% of these funds to administrate the fund. (Key legislators will be upset if they use that much)
  • Approved Providers (Such as OLSHF) will be able to be reimbursed up to $3.20 per student for vision screenings

So, with approximately $450,000 being made available each year for the next two years, the Vision Health Fund will provide resources for approximately 140,625 Oregon school children to be screened each year. OLSHF will need to continue to raise funds from the private sector in order to maintain the number of students screened (175,000+) these past two years. As you can see, SB 187 will not provide funding for all Oregon school children to be screened BUT it should allow for the number of students screened for vision issues in Oregon to be sustained at the level that OLSHF is currently screening. It’s important to know that without state funding OLSHF would have had to significantly reduce the number of students screened since we have been spending operating reserves to keep the program at the level that we have the last few years. So, while there may not be a net gain in the numbers of children screened this year, we hope you’ll agree that this is a huge victory to be able to maintain the screening numbers at the level we’ve achieved.

All that said, there is no guarantee that OLSHF will receive all of the state funding. We are in the process of connecting with schools to confirm dates that they have requested for the 2017-18 school year and we have every reason to believe that most, if not all, of these schools will prefer OLSHF to coordinate their vision screenings.

We will be involved in the process of writing the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) for the new law once that process begins. We will work hard to ensure that there is language in the rules that provide for minimum standards for vision screenings. We will be working most likely with the Oregon Optometrists Physicians Association (OOPA) and the Oregon Academy of Ophthalmologists (OAO) to help write these standards into the Oregon Administrative Rules.

As you can see there is still work to be done, but in many ways, the biggest hurdle is behind us. Please feel free to let us know if you have questions or concerns about the advocacy process of passing the Bill, about the OAR process, or anything pertaining to communicating with schools later this summer.

It is a great time to be part of the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation and we thank you for being part of the OLSHF Family!

Baker City Lions Save the Sight of Young Oregonian

Steve and Colton
Steve and Colton

Baker City Lion Co-Sight & Hearing Chair Steve Shaurer and Colton Anderson of Baker City.

Saturday, July 8th was hot in Haines, Oregon. The weather forecast said it should reach 96 degrees and I bet it was close. However, the park where the Eagle Scout ceremony was to occur had a row of huge shade trees that kept about half the green lawn cool. I was there to finally meet Colton Anderson, a recipient of cross linking eye surgery with sponsorship by the Baker City Lions and the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation (OLSHF).

Colton is the second person of Baker County afflicted with keratoconus, a condition that thins the cornea and left untreated would result in blindness. An outcome that the Baker City Lions and OLSHF would not stand for. So with the help of OLSHF and the sponsorship of the Baker City Lions, doctors at Devers Memorial Eye Clinic completed a successful surgery on his first eye in June 2017. Surgery for his other eye is scheduled for August 26th.

I was here to meet the Andersons and drop off a check to help offset their travel expenses for the trip to Devers in Portland. I also wanted to finally meet this young man who was being honored for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting. He was not hard to find as he was the uniformed scout with a sash loaded with all kinds of merit badges. After the scout troop set the chairs, in the cooler shade of the trees, Colton’s family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors and one Lion took our seats.

Josh Anderson, Colton’s dad and scout master of Troop 460 presided over the ceremony, as well as the Honorable Baker District Judge, Greg Baxter. It was a fantastic ceremony that opened with a color guard, presentations from Dad and Judge Baxter. The ceremony included the pinning of Mom and Dad and finally Colton being pinned with the Eagle Scout badge. After the ceremony and photographs, I snuck in and introduced myself to Colton. He was surprised and pleased to meet me. We shook hands, hugged and he thanked me many times for the help he received from the Lions. We talked a bit about the upcoming surgery and he expressed his excitement to be getting fitted next week with a contact lens in his operated eye that should result in 20/20 vision. And that would happen before the next eye surgery…so he could always see.

After our visit, everyone then enjoyed a pot-luck picnic in the cool shade. I received many thanks from family and friends for the help Colton received from the Lions. Many didn’t know what Lions really did and they expressed their thanks for the assistance Lions give to others too. Our work is much appreciated, they said.

As I departed, I asked Colton – when you go over for this second surgery please say hello for me to those dear friends at OLSHF. He said he would.

SB 187 – Yes to Fund Vision Screenings

Why Some Oregon Students are Failing

  • 25% of all children have an undiagnosed vision problem significant enough to affect their performance in school (Children’s Vision Care in the 21st Century and Its Impact on Education – academic study).
  • “Good eyesight facilitates learning in school and development in general.” (Healthier Students are Better Learners – academic study)
  • A student who is low income and can’t read at grade-level by the third grade is 13 times less likely to graduate from high school (Education Week – academic study).

Senate Bill 187 Addresses an Unfunded Mandate

  • SB 187 is a follow up to House Bill 3000 passed in 2013, requiring all Oregon students to provide proof of a vision screening or eye exam prior to starting school.
  • Treatment can dramatically improve student outcomes and positively affect high school graduation rates.
  • HB 3000 sparked a public-private partnership, with schools providing logistical support and the State partnering with private non-profit entities to provide necessary equipment, staff, training, and resources such as funding.
  • The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation (OLSHF) has held up their end, now screening 180,000 Oregon students with high quality, free vision screening in a school setting, an increase of 720% since 2013.
  • SB 187 would allow every Oregon school district to access funds for vision screening. Public funding would be used effectively and efficiently. (OLSHF cost of $3.75 per student, compared to average $27 CPT insurance cost.)
  • SB 187 would provide funding to strengthen resource and referral systems with eye doctors in local communities to facilitate follow-up and ongoing eye health for children and their families.

How Much Does It Cost and What Are We Paying For?

  • For decades, Oregon has recognized the importance of preventing, identifying, and managing health conditions such as vision loss. OAR 581-022-0705 mandates school districts are responsible for vision screening programs and HB 3000 requires schools to obtain proof of vision screening or exam.
  • With approximately 400,000 students in grades K-8, 25% of whom have an undiagnosed vision condition, and limited resources for schools, Oregon cannot afford outdated, slow, and labor intensive vision screening methods.
  • In 2010, the Oregon Department of Education was directed to fund an Oregon Vision Screening Pilot
    Project to analyze the resources and delivery methods of vision screening programs throughout the state. At that time, the project found the average cost of a vision screening was $10.58 per student.
  • Since then, technological advances in vision screening devices has allowed for fast, objective checks for multiple potential conditions. HIPAA and FERPA compliant digital data collection and reporting of results means students’ information is secure and delivered on a timely basis.

A YES VOTE for SB 187 will allocate $3,000,000 biennially to reimburse schools for the costs of vision screenings and would provide sufficient support to expand programs to cover every school district and every student in Oregon.