“Eyecare About Reading” Book Drive Competition Provides Free Books and Eye Exams to Children Across the U.S.

1 in 4 children
Rancho Cordova, Calif., July 17, 2012 – To read well, a child first needs to see well, as 80 percent of what we learn is through our eyes. However, an astonishing one in four children has an undetected vision problem—many of which are due to lack of vision care. To shed light on the critical role healthy vision plays in helping to develop a child’s passion for reading and learning, VSP Vision Care, Transitions Optical and Bess the Book Bus have launched the national “Eyecare About Reading” Book Drive competition. The Book Drive will provide free books, eye exams and glasses (when needed), totaling more than two million dollars, to children in need. 
 
Three well-known bloggers: Meghan Cooper from JaMonkey (Atlanta, GA), Mocha Dad Frederick Goodall (Houston, TX) and Kara-Kae, founder of The Mom Diggity (Oklahoma City, OK), will compete to collect the most books in their communities through August 22. The books will be donated to local charities as well as to Bess the Book Bus, a mobile literacy outreach program that travels across the country providing free books to underprivileged children in schools, shelters and community organizations.
 
“Reading opens worlds of opportunities for children throughout their academic and personal lives,” shared Jennifer Frances, founder of Bess the Book Bus. “I am thrilled to be a part of this campaign, which will help to spread the love of reading to kids, many of whom have never had a book of their own or access to proper eye care, potentially hindering their reading skills.”
 
How the Book Drive works:
  • For every three books donated in the competition (either through the bloggers or online), VSP will donate one free eye exam (and, if needed, glasses fitted with Transitions lenses) to charities in the bloggers’ communities for children without access to these services. VSP will provide up to 5,500 free eye exams in total for the campaign, a value of more than $2,000,000.
  • The blogger who collects the most books will receive an additional 100 free eye exams (and glasses with Transitions lenses) for their charity, as well as a special visit from Bess the Book Bus and the VSP/Transitions Optical Mobile Eyes clinic nicknamed Eyenstein.
 
“Increasing access to quality eyecare is a priority for VSP,” said Connie Vavricek, director of industry outreach at VSP Vision Care. “To partner with organizations such as Transitions Optical and Bess the Book Bus, who share our passion to give back, increases the collective reach to make a positive impact on the life of a child.”
 
How to participate:
 
“Transitions Optical has a long-standing history of supporting literacy initiatives through our four-year partnership with Bess the Book Bus and our My Eye Promise program, encouraging everyone to promise to care for their eyes, and in turn also help children in need through our automatic book donations to Bess the Book Bus,” said Dan McLean, marketing manager, communications, Transitions Optical. “The Eyecare About Reading book drive competition is another great way to get parents, children and teachers thinking about the important connection between healthy vision and reading and learning before the start of the new school year.”
 
Renowned children’s authors John Perry, Margaret Mason, Deborah Diesen, Rebecca Emberley and Cynthia Lord are also showing their support for the campaign by providing free signed copies of their award-winning books as well as exclusive video content.
 
To donate a book, visit the Book Drive Tab at www.Facebook.com/VSPVisionCare.
 
To learn more about VSP Vision Care community programs, visit www.vspglobal.com/globaloutreach. To learn more about Transitions Optical’s community programs, visit www.eyedidntknowthat.org. For more information about Bess the Book Bus, visit www.bessthebookbus.org.            
 
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About VSP Global
VSP Global® includes VSP Vision Care, the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the United States with 57 million members; Marchon® Eyewear Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically-advanced eyewear and sunwear; Eyefinity® which offers innovative solutions and the premier management software and technology to improve overall practice management and patient experience; VSP Optics Group, industry leaders in new technologies, production processes, service and logistics.  

To date, through VSP community outreach programs such as VSP Mobile Eyes® and Sight for Students®, and through relationships including those with the American Red Cross and Prevent Blindness America, VSP has invested close to $146.5 million in free eyecare and eyewear for more than 770,000 adults and children in need throughout the United States.
 
About Transitions Optical, Inc.
Transitions Optical is a joint venture of PPG Industries, Inc. and Essilor International.  The first to successfully commercialize a plastic photochromic lens in 1990, today the company is a leading provider of photochromics to optical manufacturers worldwide.  Transitions Optical offers the most advanced photochromic technology in the widest selection of lens designs, materials and brand names.
 
Transitions® lenses are the ideal everyday choice for healthy sight.  They are clear indoors and at night.  Outdoors, they automatically darken as light conditions change.  Transitions lenses provide visual comfort, and enhance visual quality by reducing glare and enhancing contrast, helping you to see better today.  Transitions lenses block 100 percent of harmful UVA and UVB rays – helping to protect the health and wellness of your eyes – so you can see better tomorrow as well.
 
For more information about the company and Transitions lenses, visit Transitions.com or contact Transitions Optical Customer Service at (800) 848-1506 (United States) or (877) 254-2590 (Canada).
 
About Bess the Book Bus
Founded solely by Frances in 2004, Bess the Book Bus began visiting schools, shelters and after-school programs in the Tampa area to distribute children’s books and host readings for underprivileged children.  Since then, Frances’ efforts have expanded, servicing more than 200 children and adults in need each week to promote literacy.  Frances gives more than 50,000 new books each year to schools, community centers and shelters, with 2011 being the record year, distributing nearly 100,000 books.  Her program continues to grow as Frances prepares for her third multi-city tour across the country.  For more information about the program, visit www.bessthebookbus.org.
 

ATTACHMENTS

80% of what we see

80% of what we see

10% of children

10% of children

1 in 4 children

1 in 4 children

76% of Children

76% of Children

Reading Infographic

Reading Infographic

Author Cynthia Lord

Author Cynthia Lord discusses being an author and why having healthy vision is important.

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