‘I can see!’

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    David Dijos of Project Vision Hawai‘i adjusts Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i Public Charter School student Tavela Harris’ new glasses Wednesday at the Kahili Mountain Park campus.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Vision to Learn Director Andrew Aguirre, left, offers tips on eyeglass care and fog-prevention to students at Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i Public Charter School at the Kahili Mountain Park campus Wednesday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A dozen Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i Public Charter School students celebrate their new glasses with the school’s staff, Project Vision Hawai‘i staff, and affiliated partners like Vision to Learn, Wednesday at the Kahili Mountain Park campus.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i Public Charter School students compare their new glasses Wednesday after receiving the free glasses through Project Vision Hawai‘i and its affiliated partners, at the Kahili Mountain Park campus.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    “I can see,” says Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i Public Charter School fourth-grader Tavela Harris Wednesday as she compares her old prescription with the new glasses made possible through Project Vision Hawai‘i and its partners, in the gym of the Kahili Mountain Park campus.

Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i Public Charter School fourth-grader Tavela Harris gingerly took off her pair of glasses Wednesday, and replaced the old pair with the new, free pair she received from Project Vision Hawai‘i.

She blinked a few times in the school’s gym on the Kahili Mountain Park campus, to get her eyes acquainted with the new set.

“I can see,” she said, smiling. “With my old pair, I had a hard time reading because the words were too small. And I couldn’t see far.”

Harris was one of 12 students from the school who received new, free glasses through the efforts of Project Vision Hawai‘i and its affiliated partners, including Vision to Learn, and a host of community grants.

“We are incredibly blessed to have such generous people who sincerely care about our keiki on Kaua‘i,” said David Adams, the school director.

“Vision to Learn, in collaboration with Project Vision Hawai‘i, selected our school for free vision screenng and free glasses to our students,” he said.

“Following a full day of initial examinations, 22 potential students who needed glasses were identified. The vision exams were held on campus on April 14 that came to a conclusion with the 12 students receiving free new glasses today.”

Andrew Aguirre of Vision to Learn said they had identified at least 300 appointments for testing in April 2020.

“We were getting ready to get back to school,” Aguirre said. “But the pandemic shut everything down. We’re going to make good on all those that we missed during this year.”

Project Vision Hawai‘i is a nonprofit organization that, to date, has provided free medical-screening services to more than 115,000 patients across the state, including populations of seniors, children from low-income families, immigrants and individuals with disabilities.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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