GRAND RAPIDS, Mich,, (March 21, 2014) — Dr. Troy LeBaron, owner of Professional Eyecare of West Michigan, is committed to helping a different kind of clientele. Since the beginning of the school year he’s been examining students from the East Kentwood School district and providing them with eyeglasses free of charge.
Dr. LeBaron became involved with the program after answering a plea for help from Kyle Ringwald, a Community School Coordinator with the Kent School Services Network.
“East Kentwood Freshman campus was in dire need of a vision specialist that could provide students that were in need of some glasses, even eye exams,” explained Ringwald. “We called up Dr. Troy and he was able to help us right away.”
Dr. LeBaron has helped more than 100 students so far. Some may have insurance, but when they don’t it’s not a problem.
“We completely cover that for them, so there’s no charge for them at all,” Dr. LeBaron told FOX 17 News. “I feel like if you’re doing business in a community, then you need to support that community as well. My goal was to be able to help these kids.”
Shareef Gunther, a ninth grader at East Kentwood, came to Dr. LeBaron after having trouble seeing the board in class. A new pair of glasses has already made a big difference in his learning.
“I had to sit in the front and I was seeing floaters,” Gunther said. “I’m just happy I can see more, see better and stuff.”
The students are able to be seen during the school day as needed during the week.
“Usually we take 3-4 students at a time,” said Ringwald. “Within about 45 minutes We’ll have the students back in class. And we’ll even be able to pull them out at lunch time so they’re not missing much.”
While Dr. LeBaron provides his service free of charge, he is picking up the tab for eyeglasses. He said a deal to buy discounted frames in bulk is helping with the cost. Plus, seeing the difference he’s making is often payment enough.
“They come in and they say they’re doing so much better,” said LeBaron. “That’s all I need for a reward. That’s everything.”
If you’d like to help the program continue, an account has been established at Option 1 Credit Union. Just visit any branch and mention Dr. Troy LeBaron’s name and Professional Eyecare of West Michigan (PEWM). Any money donated will go toward a fund to buy frames.