“One day in my physics class I had a hard time reading the board. I was squinting my eyes and my physics teacher asked what was wrong with me,” said James who is going on his third month in America.

After James’ teacher noticed the problem, James’ host mom MaryLee Day was informed. “Even when sitting close to the board he needed to squint to see it. I contacted a friend in town who is an optometrist and she agreed to see James free of charge.”

James went to the appointment, and was surprised by the results. “I thought it was OK to have this kind of vision,” he said. While Stefanie Rohler, O.D. offered the lenses and frames at a 50 percent discount, the Day’s would have still been left with a $106 fee.

As a teacher in Grundy Center, Day was determined to help James and began brainstorming a way to pay for the glasses. She recalled a Lions Club program where they partner with OneSightSM to provide eyeglasses to those in need.

James enjoying homecoming with his host mom MaryLee Day

Day spoke to a member of her local Lions Club and received a call the next day letting her know they would pay for James’ glasses. They even arranged for the optometrist office to send the bill directly to the club. “God has always provided for us. He provided James, a perfect fit for our family. He provided Daniel Ishaya, a KL-YES student three years ago and He provided James with his eye glasses,” she said.

To James excitement, he was suddenly bestowed with good vision. “I like wearing glasses because I can now see perfectly clear. I feel like I see new stuff around me.” He thinks the new change makes him look like the doctor he aspires to be one day.

James talked about how he will return to Tanzania and be one of few sporting eyeglasses because “they are very expensive.”

James, a member of the Grundy Center Homecoming Court, posing with the 2012 queen.

He is not only thankful to his host mom and the Lions Club, but also to Dr. Rohler for making the process such a great experience for him. Dr. Rohler even allowed James to examine his host mom’s eyes during a check-up. “He was thrilled to be able to see and learn first hand what an eye doctor does.”

IRIS would like to give a personal thanks to the Grundy Center Lions Club and Dr. Rohler at Lifetime Vision Center for their donations and support for James and IRIS’ programs.




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