Brookside Optometric Group is proud to partner with Discovery Challenge Academy to provide free eye exams and new glasses to local high school students. Based in Lathrop, Discovery Challenge Academy (DCA) opened in January 2017 as a partnership between the California National Guard and San Joaquin County Office of Education.
The voluntary program serves as a valuable tool for underprivileged students in our community who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out. To join the academy, students volunteer for the program, demonstrating that they are ready to make a positive change in their lives.
During the five and a half month program, students are introduced to the military structure, receive educational services, and learn valuable study skills and work habits to make healthy choices while completing their education and turning their lives around.
For many, good vision is a big part of school performance. As students progress in school, they face increasing demands on their visual abilities, which is why we are excited to be a community partner with the program.
We first learned about Discovery Challenge Academy when the acting general of the program spoke at a local Rotary club where one of our doctors was serving as President at the time. During the presentation, our doctor learned that while medical insurance is required for all students, most of the students do not have vision insurance and many have never had an eye exam.
After hearing the presentation, he came back to the practice and shared about the need. The practice agreed to provide glasses and eye exams for free. We are the only optometric group in the country supporting Discovery Challenge Academy in this way, and each time we see the successes of the cadets, we're more and more proud and committed to this organization.
Discovery Challenge Academy of Lathrop currently has a 92% success rate helping students finish high school and go on to college, trade school, work opportunities, the military, and more. New glasses provide the students with increased confidence and help build their self-esteem, and we are completely invested in the DCA mission to provide cadets with life-coping skills.
Matthew Reece, Warrant Officer in Charge of Recruiting, Placement, and Mentoring for DCA had this to say: “Brookside Optometric Group reached out to us to help, and asked how they could help. The practice cares about we do, and are great community supporters of the kids and their events. When the students go in for their eye exams and glasses, they are treated like royalty. Because of this partnership, our kids feel valued and supported.”
We are thrilled that we had a chance to help out the cadets who just graduated, and we look forward to meeting the cadets in the next class. If you’re interested in learning more about the DCA or making a difference in the lives of at-risk youth, visit Discovery Challenge Academy online.