Middletown, N.J. – Armed with cameras, camaraderie and good cheer, the Middletown Lions Club All-Volunteer Vision Screening Team – the ‘Knights of Sight’ – has begun making the rounds to all 12 elementary schools in the Middletown Township School District. The specially-trained team uses Welch-Allyn Suresight Screeners, cameras which are designed to detect common eye ailments. Test results are then sent to the South Jersey Eye Center, Camden, for interpretation. The cameras engage the eyes of the students with lights and sounds and make no physical contact. The Lions enjoy working with the students and come prepared with funny stickers to give as souvenirs once students complete the tests, which take just a few seconds. “I think I have more fun than the kids,” stated Lori Anne Oliwa, immediate past-president of the club. Vision Screening Chairman Rich LaBarbera noted that the tests perform a crucial function in the community and can uncover problems which parents might not have noticed. To date, the team has tested the eyes of close to 4,000 students including the additional school districts of Matawan-Aberdeen, Red Bank, and Hazlet. Lion President Larry Caminiti explained that the vision screenings are one of the signature service initiatives of the club.

     To continue to perform the screenings – the cameras carry a cost of over $10,000 each and also need to be maintained regularly – the Middletown Lions Club is hosting the ‘Lions Family Golf Challenge Fundraiser’ on Sunday, October 14th from 12 Noon to 4 p.m. at Carrabba’s Restaurant, 1864 State Highway 35 Southbound, Middletown. The event will feature putting and chipping contests for everyone along with free lemonade, pizza, and even prizes for the children. The contests will take place on the lawn in front of Carrabba’s. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children, or $25 for the family package. Information is available on the Middletown Lions Club website at www.mlions.org or by emailing [email protected].

     Chartered in 1946 under Lions International, the Middletown Lions Club is a volunteer service organization consisting of men and women who help the community through various charitable service and fundraising initiatives and programs. Lions International is the largest service organization in the world. The club assists individuals and families in need both locally and globally through their unique 501C3 foundation, The Middletown Lions Club Foundation. All contributions are tax-deductible.

     The club supports programs including sight improvement and prevention of blindness. Members volunteer directly at St. Marks Food Pantry, Keansburg, by purchasing, preparing and serving homemade meals for the hungry during ‘Lion Tamer Third Thursdays.’ The Middletown Lions Club also underwrites free eye exams, eyeglasses, and hearing aids for those who cannot afford them and donates funds to local charities that advocate for disabled individuals and for families and children with special needs.

     New members are encouraged to join. The club meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at various locations and hosts special fundraising events. For more information, contact Lion Chairwoman Lori Anne Oliwa at [email protected] and visit the website www.mlions.org.

Photo Caption and Photo 8044: ‘Tis the Season for Sight’ – Members of the Middletown Lions Club ‘Knights of Sight,’ the club’s all-volunteer vision screening team, visited Leonardo Elementary School recently to test the eyes of the pre-k and kindergarten students with a special camera. From left to right are School Nurse Eileen Gavin, Lion Ron Finnegan, Lion Chairwoman Lori Anne Oliwa, Principal Kathleen Sidoti, Lion President Larry Caminiti, Nurse Jennifer Cimmino, and Lions Vision Screening Chairman Rich LaBarbera. The team has been performing the screenings free of charge for a total of four years and will travel to all 12 elementary schools in the district.  

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...