Ivy Tech sets its sights on offering free eye care

By Michael Reschke 812-331-4370 | mreschke@heraldt.com

Ivy Tech leaders hope Giving Tuesday will help them expand a free eye care event.

The Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus plans to offer free eye exams and glasses to people in need next spring. Circle of Ivy, a women’s philanthropic organization, has already committed enough money to serve 25 people. Leaders at Ivy Tech want to increase that number to 50 with a campaign that will begin Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday plays off the widely recognized shopping events that follow the Thanksgiving holiday, such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. The idea is for people to give their time or a donation to a cause they care about.

Circle of Ivy picked seven projects to fund this year out of 21 submitted from the Bloomington campus. From those seven, Optometric Week of Sight 2018 was chosen as a way for the campus to try out the Giving Tuesday platform.

“Whatever we put out there has to resonate with the community,” said Susie Graham, executive director of development at Ivy Tech. “I think this probably met that criterion the best.”

Leanne Short, program chairwoman for optometric technology at Ivy Tech, submitted the proposal as a way to both help the community and give students firsthand experience.

The optometric technology program at Ivy Tech is new, with the regional board of trustees approving it in March 2016. The program’s first cohort of students started taking classes this semester.

“It’s the only optometric technology program in the state, and we feel a responsibility to the community in making those resources available to them,” Graham said.

During Optometric Week of Sight, students in the program will make new lenses under the supervision of a certified optician.

Ivy Tech plans to work with United Way agencies to identify people in need. Dates for the event have not been selected yet, but Graham said they will be sometime in mid- to late spring 2018.

Donations to the program can be made online at impact.ivytech.edu. That site can also be accessed using the search function on givingtuesday.org after 8 a.m. today. The goal is to raise $2,970 by Dec. 31, matching the commitment from Circle of Ivy.

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