- Sponsorship -

Nonprofit brings drive-up vision care to schools

Organization has provided eye care for students for 10 years

Wyoming Cherry Health’s new Mobile Vision Clinic is definitely eye-catching, which is fitting for its job catching eye issues such as poor vision in students.

The 39-foot colorful bus recently made its debut in Wyoming Public Schools, pulling up to elementary schools to provide curbside vision services. The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit is building on its longtime partnership with the district, using the vehicle to make eye care even more accessible to families.

“The kids are so excited to get on the bus,” said optometrist Hanna Grabowski, in between eye exams at Gladiola Elementary School. “They are a little less apprehensive about eye drops.”

Cherry Health focuses on removing barriers, expanding access and delivering health care services to underserved communities, regardless of an individual’s insurance status or ability to pay. The organization has offered school-linked vision and dental health programs in Kent County for more than a decade. Wyoming has received vision service since the 2013-2014 school year and dental care since 2004.

With the mobile clinic, students are escorted to and from class by the clinic’s driver for complete dilated eye exams. Inside the unit, there’s room for up to two students at a time and comprehensive equipment. Students who need them even get to try on and choose glasses.

The clinic has traditionally been set up inside schools, taking up space and requiring extra time.

Brightly colored and hard to miss, the Cherry Health Mobile Vision Clinic is now providing services
Brightly colored and hard to miss, the Cherry Health Mobile Vision Clinic is now providing services

“(The bus) does increase the program capacity overall as far as the number of kids that can be served and the number of schools that can be serviced in a school year,” said Meagan Baker, director of vision services at Cherry Health. 

While the mobile clinic will finish up the school year in Wyoming, plans are to bring it to other districts as well, including Grand Rapids, Godfrey-Lee, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville and Kentwood.

“I am immensely grateful for our partnership with Cherry Street Health, through which our students have greatly benefited from essential vision and dental services,” said Superintendent Craig Hoesksta. “These services are invaluable. Meeting our students’ basic needs is one of our core goals, ensuring that when they engage in important learning experiences, they have everything necessary to work towards and achieve their goals.”

Cherry Health serves 50 schools in the Kent County area and provides about 5,000 students a year with vision and dental services. For vision services, last year, it completed 2,142 exams and prescribed 607 pairs of glasses, said Shauna Bayer, Cherry Health director of school programs. 

Schools receive vision services every other year. Last year, Cherry Health serviced 1,682 students who had Medicaid benefits and 460 who were uninsured.

Read more from Wyoming:
Basketball coach’s legacy spans four decades, 400 career wins 
Global School Play Day is serious work

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


Related Articles

- Sponsorship -

Issues in Education

Making Headlines

- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You Live WGVU