MEMPHIS, Tenn. - School Advocates for Vision & Education (SAVE) announces the launch of the first-ever Mobile Vision Examination Unit to serve Memphis youth. The SAVE mobile unit is a customized RV that includes two on-board vision exam rooms that have the capability to conduct full, comprehensive vision examinations. SAVE will celebrate the launch of its mobile unit with a ribbon cutting at Rivercrest Elementary (4825 Rivercrest Lane) at 10 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2010.

Prior to SAVE’s founding, Shelby County did not have a system in place to ensure that children who fail their school-based vision screening also receive a comprehensive eye exam, and if needed, glasses. Beginning Oct. 12, SAVE will begin traveling from school to school to provide eye examinations and glasses, which will help ensure that all Memphis children can see the board in class. In total, more than 2,000 students will be assisted by the program in the 2010-2011 school year.

SAVE’s new mobile unit was made possible by a $500,000 capital grant from the Plough Foundation. In order to receive this grant, SAVE had to raise an additional $120,000 for operating funds for its first fiscal year. Thanks to matching grants from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation and the Assisi Foundation, as well as individual donations, SAVE reached its goal.

“Children with vision problems face not only academic barriers, but also social and athletic hurdles,” said Calvin Anderson, Vice President of Federal and Community Relations for BlueCross. “The Tennessee Health Foundation is proud to support SAVE’s mission to provide quality vision care to all children and, in turn, help our youth reach their full potential.”

SAVE was founded by the Lindeman Family of Memphis, who became advocates for quality vision healthcare in school after their own son was diagnosed at an early age with vision-related issues. At the very beginning of this effort, the Lindeman Family sought out organizations that were providing necessary vision healthcare services to students in Memphis and Shelby County in hopes of supporting their efforts. As that search continued, it became clear that there was no consistent, consolidated effort to ensure vision screenings, examinations and treatment are performed for students in need, and SAVE was born.

About School Advocates for Vision & Education (SAVE)

School Advocates for Vision & Education (SAVE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that identifies and facilitates treatment of vision disorders in Pre-K through 8th grade students in the Memphis Metropolitan area. SAVE was founded in 2007 by the Lindeman Family to provide vision screenings, comprehensive eye examinations, eye glasses, and further medical treatment for children in Memphis and Shelby County who do not have access to such healthcare. SAVE operates a mobile vision examination unit – a customized RV equipped with two state-of-the-art examination rooms – providing eye exams, glasses and treatment referral for school children on-site at their schools.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation Inc. (THF) was established in December 2003 as a 501(c)(3) foundation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee by awarding grants focused on high impact initiatives across the state, which promote healthy lifestyle choices and help control health care costs for all Tennessee residents. THF, working with civic and economic partners, is dedicated to the support of research, innovative programs and creative approaches to improve the health and quality of life of Tennesseans for generations to come.