Golfers’ Eagles Benefit Eyes and Ears of Young Kids

December 15th, 2013
Ashley Sweers, program supervisor for Early Head Start, performs a vision screening on Aaliyah Nichols.

Detroit, December 2013 — In golf, an eagle is two under par for the round. Scoring an eagle is always cause for celebration for the individual golfer. Now, thanks to an innovative charity, it’s also cause for celebration for children served by the Early Head Start program at Southwest Solutions.

The charity is called Eagles for Children. Five golf clubs in the area participate in the effort to help disadvantaged children in metro Detroit. Each club member pledges to donate at least $2 for every eagle scored by members and their families at their club.

Our Early Head Start (EHS) program received grants from Eagles for Children in 2012 and 2013, and uses the grants to provide free vision and hearing screenings for the young children that EHS serves. These children are from low-income families in the 48210 zip code in southwest Detroit. The grants enabled our EHS to acquire the equipment  to perform the screenings.

“To help children and learn and develop to their full potential, it is very important to detect at an early age any hearing and vision problems,” says Lynn McGregor, manager of our Early Childhood & Family Literacy division, of which EHS is a part.

The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services requires screenings of children ages 0–3 enrolled in Early Head Start programs.  Unfortunately, many pediatric offices, particularly those in low-income areas, do not have proper screening equipment and perform only subjective assessments.

“The ability to have our Early Head Start staff perform screenings on site ensures that all of our children are screened for hearing and vision problems upon enrollment and if a possible problem is detected, we can immediately refer the child’s family to medical professionals, ” Lynn adds. “Early intervention and treatment leads to better outcomes.”

Eagles for Children began at Oakland Hills Country Club in 2012 from an idea by Hal Zaima and Don Kegley, friends and life-long golf enthusiasts. Country Club of Detroit, Pine Lake Country Club, Walnut Creek Country Club, and Western Golf Club and Country Club also participate in the philanthropic effort. The program has raised $178,000 in the past two years. Every dollar raised goes to nonprofit organizations helping children in need.

“On behalf of our Early Head Start program and Southwest Solutions, we thank Eagles for Children for its efforts and generosity,” says Lynn. “This initiative certainly makes a difference for the children and families we serve.”


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