Sandals Foundation helps nearsighted student ‘look ahead’
NEGRIL, Westmoreland — According to child development experts, in the first gradechildren transform into true readers. They read a variety of texts for pleasure, write stories, notes and descriptions, and enjoy sharing their writing with others.
Six-year-old Jermanie Brown, whose first grade at the Green Island Primary School is coming to an end, is yet to achieve many of these developmental wins.
First grade for the youngster was rife with frustration and lack of interest; the shy and eager-to-learn child was seen as a troublemaker who constantly disrupted class and hindered other children from learning.
It wasn’t that he was rude or even wanted to be. All Jermanie wanted was to see the board like his classmates could or read his book without holding it a mere inch or two from his face — not being able to do that engendered disruptive behaviour.
Diagnosed with severe myopia at age two, Jermanie’s inability to see objects from a distance has been a source of discomfort for him. The situation got even worse when the glasses he received in basic school became less effective when he transitioned to the primary level.
“My son got his eye condition from both sides of the family; I am nearsighted. I knew he needed glasses when he started school. I sought help from the church and was able to purchase the glasses. Unfortunately, the lenses were too weak for his condition, but he had to continue using it because it was the best we could do,” shared Jermanie’s mother, Tecia Brown.
This challenge took a toll on the child shortly after starting grade one and he lost interest in learning.
“When Jermanie came into my class in September he was a very shy student who always tried to do his work. In early October he stopped doing anything that required reading or writing and was always distracting others. I noticed this shift in his attitude and asked him why he wasn’t doing his work. He told me he wasn’t able to see the board or the words in his books. I surmised that the glasses he was wearing weren’t helping, and that was when I brought the situation to the principal,” teacher Saleem Johnson said.
Principal Vascianne Moseley immediately penned a letter to the Sandals Foundation in his bid to get some assistance for his student.
“Sandals has a reputation of contributing significantly to the community and especially to our school. When I spoke to Jermanie’s mother and realised she needed help to purchase the glasses, I immediately thought of the foundation and reached out to them. The need was so great and I knew once Sandals Foundation heard of the situation they would have helped in any way they could,” Mosley explained.
And helped they did.
The foundation was able to provide the additional funds needed to pay for special high-index glasses. “Getting the call from Sandals with the offer to help lifted a weight from my shoulders and I am thankful that my son has gotten the proper lenses to wear. In the few days that he has been using his glasses, I realise that he is reading more, writing and participating in class. I am forever thankful for the help and look forward to him doing well in school,” said an emotional Brown.