For more than 60 years, VSP has been reimagining how eye care and eyewear are delivered. One of the best ways to interest kids in taking care of their eyes is through the love of sport.
Last summer, VSP partnered with professional basketball player DeMarcus Cousins to provide free eye care and eyewear for youth in need at two of Cousins’ Elite Skills Basketball Camps, one of which took place at Sacramento High School and the other at his alma mater, LeFlore Magnet High School in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
“DeMarcus is such a huge presence in the Sacramento area, but what’s really interesting is the connection to our VSP Mobile Eyes program,” said Jim McGrann, VSP Global president and CEO. “Our mobile clinic program was born out of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita back in 2005. One of the areas affected was Mobile, Ala., DeMarcus’ hometown. So when his team approached us about helping to sponsor the basketball camp here, and potentially working with him in Mobile, we were more than excited.”
Over three days of free play and skills drills, children received comprehensive eye exams from local VSP doctors who volunteered their time and services, including Palmer Lee, OD.
Dr. Lee, who has practiced in the Sacramento area since the 1970s, spoke about the need for early intervention with an annual eye exam for children. “We use our eyes for everything, so if you can enhance a young person’s hand-eye coordination, depth perception and peripheral vision in sports, and their ability to read and excel in their education, you make a big difference,” he said.
The children are now are able to see the details both in school and on the court with new Nike glasses. Additionally, VSP Global donated nearly 100 gift certificates to provide kids who couldn’t attend the basketball camps with access to eye care, and outfitted all of the camp participants with Nike sunglasses.
We’ll continue to partner with DeMarcus Cousins in 2016 and look forward to watching him play in the 65th NBA All-Star game.
To see upcoming VSP Mobile Eyes events or to request a clinic for your event, visit globaleyesofhope.com.