Minister Lee encourage children to come for free eye exams


PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Emil Lee encouraged parents to take their children for free eye testing and glasses at the White & Yellow Cross located in St. Johns Estate.

In support of the Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity (VOSH), the Rotary club of St. Maarten organized an eye examination program to support their initiative in St. Maarten, which is to provide free eye exams and eyeglasses to those who cannot afford it. Fourteen Colorado Members of VOSH were available to give their service. On Monday, May 9, many persons took advantage of the opportunity to get their eyes checked.

Minister Lee visited and socialized with the attendees. “My visit today was really touching. It was wonderful to see so many people turn up to take advantage of the very generous offer of VOSH to provide free eye exams and free glasses to our community’s most needy. In the following days, I really hope so see a stronger turnout from the school children in particular.   For school kids, the inability to see properly can translate into behavioral problems, slower learning and lack of motivation. Being able to see properly is a critical part of ensuring that our children can learn properly,” Minister Lee stated.

President of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Jeffrey Sochrin was thrilled to announce that over 300 free eye examinations and free eye glasses were distributed during the first day of testing. “It is such a wonderful experience to be here at the White & Yellow Cross with the visiting VOSH team, for the first day of free eye exams for the residents of St. Maarten in need. The Rotary Club is so thrilled to support this initiative. We would like to thank all the Rotarians, all the visiting optometrists that came out to help from the US, all sponsors who made this happen, our friends at Dominoes, Rick Cassidy, and the Summit and Ocean Club. Also a big thank you to the White & Yellow Cross, who has been an excellent venue to hold this event, and we hope that they can do it for many years to come,” Sochrin stated.

Optometrist Dr. Kent Godfey said: “We are all just very happy to be here to help out the people on the island, by providing glasses. This morning we dispensed over 150 pairs of glasses to needy people including sunglasses, reading glasses, and things that they need to help them see and go on with their lives even better. It’s just so fun to be here and help out people.”

“Projects like these are why I joined Rotary. Vision is often overlooked as it usually does not fall within SZV or many insurances. A student will likely fall behind in his or her studies if he is unable to see clearly. Everything from reading to seeing the chalkboard requires good vision. I am very happy to be a part of this project. Free eye examinations and if needed free glasses. I’m glad we can help make a difference,” said Rotarian John Caputo.

The general public, especially children, are invited to come for free eye exams on Tuesday, May 10, and Wednesday, May 11, from 9:00am to 5:00pm at the White & Yellow Ccross located in St. Johns Estate.