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FocusFirst is a cost-effective direct response to the vision-care problems of children who live in urban and rural poverty in Alabama.
A signature collaboration between the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility and Impact Alabama, undergraduate and graduate students serving as FocusFirst volunteers ensure that children ages six months to five years in Head Starts and lower-income daycares are screened for vision problems and receive subsidized examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Since the launch of the FocusFirst program in November 2004, more than 2,300 student volunteers from twenty-three campuses throughout Alabama have screened more than 175,000 children in all 67 counties across the state. A potential vision problem was detected in approximately 11.7 percent of those children, all of whom received, or are receiving, subsidized follow-up care as necessary through Sight Savers of Alabama.
UA continues to be the leading participant in our statewide screening efforts. Since 2004, approximately 800 UA students have participated with FocusFirst, screening more than 16,000 children in 14 counties. A potential vision problem was detected in approximately 11 percent of those children screened by UA students.
Several UA classes have partnered with FocusFirst in a service-learning capacity. They include BSC 409: Pre-Health Apprenticeship and PSC 362: Organizational Theory.
The University of Alabama is a leading campus for FocusFirst volunteers. FocusFirst is a signature program of Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative, Alabama’s first nonprofit dedicated to developing and implementing substantive service-learning projects in coordination with more than twenty universities and colleges throughout the state.