Kris Kelm, Community Impact Manager for Canada, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, and Tatiana Mighiu, Coordinator, Opticianry program

Giving back

A new vision for experiential learning

Opticianry students team up with EssilorLuxottica to provide eye care

February 15, 2024

As countless Seneca alumni know first-hand, Seneca Polytechnic provides opportunities for valuable, real-world experience, such as co-ops, field placements and experiential learning.

Thanks to the continued support of EssilorLuxottica and the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, students in the Opticianry diploma program have hands-on opportunities that benefit their education and the community.

Since 2022, the I-Care Project, sponsored by EssilorLuxottica, has offered free vision care services for the Seneca community. In 2023, it expanded to the Yorkgate Campus and specifically to students in the Youth to Postsecondary education program.

Brittney Mitchell, a second-year opticianry student and I-Care Project Co-ordinator, said it’s an important program.

“This experience prepares volunteers for the challenges that lie ahead,” Mitchell said.

Not only do students gain valuable experience and cultivate empathy and social responsibility, they also help ensure individuals receive essential eye care regardless of financial status.

Image of Kris Kelm, Community Impact Manager for Canada, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, and Tatiana Mighiu, Coordinator, Opticianry program

Pictured (left to right): Kris Kelm, Community Impact Manager for Canada, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, and Tatiana Mighiu, Coordinator, Opticianry program

Seneca’s commitment to experiential education and its positive influence on the community is demonstrated throughout this project.

About 5.5 million Canadians and one-third of the global population live with uncorrected, poor vision. Data collected from the I-Care project screenings at Seneca showed 57 per cent of participants had the wrong prescription or no prescription at all.

“It made me think differently,” said Pirathika Pirabakaran, a second-year opticianry student and I-Care volunteer. “One student needed heavy-duty frames because of her children. I would have never thought of that just being in class.”

“This experience prepares volunteers for the challenges that lie ahead”

I-Care strives to inspire the Seneca community to understand the significance of safeguarding their vision health and preventing eyesight loss by prioritizing accessibility and preservation.

It’s a vital community service and one the company is proud to support, said Nicola Courtemanche, Vice President, Optical, Independents, EssilorLuxottica Canada.

“We strive everyday to make sure everyone receives the vision and eye care they deserve,” Courtemanche said. “Through our partnership with OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, we remain committed to helping everyone see more and be more.”

To date, the program has created a dozen experiential learning positions for student volunteers and provided 181 students with vision screenings, eye exams and new prescription glasses. With plans for the 2024 I-Care launch underway, the initiative is shaping the future of vision care at Seneca and beyond.

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