Teens get a second chance to see

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Optometrist Lien Nguyen checks the eyes of Amy, age 16, at the Colton Wal-Mart. Photo by Chris Sloan

2nd Chance Kids works with The Salvation Army to help kids with medical needs.


Two teenagers are seeing things much more clearly these days, thanks to help from 2nd Chance Kids and The Salvation Army.

Matthew, 13, and Amy, 16, are regular participants in the San Bernardino Corps’ youth programs. Both also struggle with poor vision.

Matthew, who will soon enter seventh grade, had never worn glasses before and was straining to read anything not inches in front of him. For him, even reading what his teacher wrote on the board was difficult.

“I would sit near the front and squint,” Matthew said. “When Kelly [Salvation Army Corps Assistant Kelly Raabe] told me they had found a way for me to get new glasses, I was so excited.”

“Both of them needed glasses, but their families could not afford them,” said Corps Officer Capt. Stephen Ball. “When 2nd Chance Kids learned about this, it paid for each of them to receive an optometrist’s exam and a new pair of glasses.”

Matthew’s mother, Dodie, said: “When I found out 2nd Chance For Kids wanted to do this, I cried. It has been so hard for me to get health care for us, let alone glasses for Matthew.”

Amy has worn glasses since she was 5, but had been wearing the same pair for the last three years. She will soon be a junior at Arroyo Valley High School.

“These new lenses help me a lot,” she said. “My old ones were scratched, and these are 20/600 instead of 20/500.”

This spring, Jimmy McDougald, founder of 2nd Chance Kids, and John Lops, president of the organization, contacted Ball. 2nd Chance Kids is a newly formed non-profit organization that provides for the medical needs of at-risk children ages 3-17.

“2nd Chance Kids has a heart for children,” McDougald said. “We want to help those who are in the most need of help.”

“When they told me about the services his organization could offer, I immediately thought of Matthew,” Ball said. “We then began looking at other children, and realized Amy also needed this kind of help.”

Other children and teens may also receive glasses or other health care equipment from Second Chance Kids, according to Ball. Second Chance Kids intends to work with The Salvation Army to help the children who have medical needs in the areas of vision, hearing, asthma and diabetes.

The Salvation Army provided transportation for both teens to their eye exams, and later to pick up the glasses.

Matthew received his new glasses in mid-May, a few weeks before finishing sixth grade at Jones Elementary School in San Bernardino. Amy received her new glasses on June 3.

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