Lions Club screening children for sight, hearing problems

Joe Grifiin, left, of the Basye-Bryce Lions Club, assists a student during vision testing at Signal Knob Middle School on Wednesday. Kaley Toy/Daily

STRASBURG — The Lions Club mobile van is making its way around Shenandoah County over the next few weeks as members screen children for sight and hearing problems.

Seventh-grade students at Signal Knob Middle School lined up in the parking lot on Wednesday for their tests given by Lions Club District 24C members.

Former Woodstock mayor and Lions Club member Bill Moyers assured them that the tests are painless and only takes a few minutes.

When students entered the van, they sat in a booth and put headphones on to test hearing. They then moved on to the sight screening, which tests distance vision. After each test, Lions Club volunteers recorded the results.

Raymond Powell, of the Woodstock Lions Club, said that students’ vision and hearing are extremely important for learning because they need to be able to see the board in the classroom and hear the teachers.

“If the kids can’t see, they can’t learn,” he said, adding that “a lot of students don’t know that they can’t see.”

Powell said third grade is when they usually start picking up on students’ vision problems.

Virginia requires all schools to test students annually for sight and hearing in third, seventh and 10th grades.  Those who don’t pass the screenings and can’t afford further testing or glasses can go to a local Lions Club and receive a free exam and glasses.

Powell said the Lions Club provided over 70 exams for the county last year and is able to do so for free as a result of their fundraising activities.

Woodstock, Edingburg, Basye-Bryce, New Market, Strasburg, and Mount Jackson Lions Clubs are providing more than 60 volunteers and over 700 hours of their time to screen students this year.

The club started the screenings this week at public schools in Strasburg. On Thursday, the club travels to Valley Baptist Christian School and home-schooled students, followed by the Charter School in Edinburg.

Beginning Sept. 21, the club van will visit the public school division’s central campus and then the southern campus the following week.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com