Kids Helping Kids from far away
through RSI’s Gift of Sight Program

“Smokey Mountain” – a vast dump site in a squatter district of Metro Manila, where a mountain of constantly smoldering garbage creates an extremely hazardous environment for families living in shanties on the dump site itself and in the surrounding area. One of the worst places in the world for raising children. Yet there they are – mired in poverty, living on meager earnings from scavenging, needing all the help they can get just to survive. And they do get help, from charitable organizations like the Philippine Christian Foundation for example, an RSI partner organization, which has a growing presence in the area.

Philippine Christian Foundation pupils
Students of the Philippine Christian Foundation school in Manila’s Smokey Mountain area being readied for eye screening, courtesy of funds raised by some middle schoolers of Livonia, Michigan

One day in 2007, help came from an unexpected benefactor, a class of the Frost Middle Middle School in the little known city of Livonia, Michigan headed by Carim Calkins, a friend of RSI Chairman Dr. Roland Houle, a Michigan native. He told his students about RSI’s accomplishments, its Gift of Sight program and its special focus on children. Excited by the prospect of being able to give the gift of sight to children in a distant land, the students set out to raise funds, through bake sales and such. The $XXX.00 raised would reach the children of the Philippines through RSI.

The end result: 317 children screened for eye problems, of whom 49 were treated for specific disorders, and 9 received correctional glasses – kids helping kids in a small but profound way. The few hundred dollars went a long way, and the middle schoolers of Livonia, Michigan experienced first-hand the joy of being able to make a difference in other children’s lives.