Over the past 10 years, the Ripley County Retired Teachers Association has been teaming up with area Lions Clubs to help provide vision screening for southeastern Indiana students, said RCRTA public relations chair Dennis Bourquein.

Today the screening reaches over 5,500 students in Ripley, Franklin, Dearborn, Ohio, Switzerland, Decatur, Jefferson and Bartholomew counties. The screenings are a volunteer project and encompass dozens of Lions and retired teachers.

The project originally was started in southeast Indiana by Lion David Clashman. As more and more schools requested the Lions Clubs’ help with the screenings, it became evident that additional volunteers were needed. In 2010, Ripley County Retired Teachers Association members began to help with the program. Today, nearly as many retired teachers assist as Lions. The program, now overseen by Shirley Bocock, a Lion and retired teacher, makes use of up to 10 vision screening machines, as well as multiple vision stations for the very young. In most schools, kindergarten, first-, third-, fifth- and eighth-grade students are screened.

Both groups solicit volunteers, who can select the schools that they wish to attend. Many volunteers help make quick work of the screening process, which is greatly appreciated by the school nurses and teaching staff.

If you would like to become a part of this project, you may contact Shirley Bocock, 812-654-3770; or Andrea Westerfeld, 812-934-2284. Volunteers are asked to take part in a short orientation program to learn the screening procedure every three years.

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