Optometrist helps foster kids ‘see’ a better future

By Lee Stephens….
Optometrist Dr. Adam Clarin always has considered himself fortunate.

He grew up in a secure family with loving parents who gave him every advantage he needed. It is that upbringing that has driven him to give back to those less fortunate, starting from the day he entered private practice.

When Dr. Clarin graduated from Nova Southeastern University’s College of Optometry in 2008, he knew he would join his father’s practice at 14429 S. Dixie Hwy. in Palmetto Bay. He also knew that it would take time to create a larger patient base in order to build up his portion of the practice.

Despite needing to focus on expanding his practice, one of the first things he did upon graduating was to offer pro bono eye exams and eyeglasses for foster children.

“I knew I wanted to give back to the community, but when I graduated, all I had was knowledge of eye care and vision,” Dr. Clarin said. “Through my pro bono exams, I saw a chance to help kids who were much less fortunate than I was, by giving them two things I had that they needed — time and knowledge.”

Dr. Clarin approached Our Kids of Miami Dade/Monroe, an organization dedicated to ensuring that South Florida’s abused, abandoned and neglected children have proper care. What started with Dr. Clarin examining two foster children per week for eye exams and glasses has expanded to him seeing as many as seven in a week.

“The mission of Our Kids of Miami-Dade/ Monroe Inc. is to oversee and lead a coordinated system of care that delivers excellent services to abused, abandoned and neglected children and their families in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties,” said Gabriela E. de Faria, coordinator with Our Kids.

“Dr. Adam Clarin plays an important role by assisting Our Kids in staying true to that mission by offering free vision exams and prescription eyeglasses to uninsured and under-insured foster youth. His generosity has helped many foster children not face additional undue stress at school and in their everyday lives due to poor vision.”

Not only does he provide the eye exam at no charge, he also gives those that need glasses the lenses and frames for free.

“Education has been so important in my success and I want to offer these children the same opportunities,” Dr. Clarin said. “If a 5, 6, or 7-year-old child can’t see the board, how can we expect them to excel and achieve.

These kids did nothing wrong, and usually they’re just struggling to do something right. If I can help by giving them their first chance to keep up and do well in school, how can you put a dollar value on that?”

Dr. Clarin doesn’t see an end to this program in his office. He will continue to provide this service for foster kids in Miami, no matter how busy he gets.

“I’ve seen some sad stories and I’ve seen some great ones. The kids that tug on your heart are the ones that couldn’t see five feet in front of them, but didn’t know how to tell anyone. They usually stay quiet and just get pushed through life,” he said. “But when they get glasses, I always see a smile, because they’re seeing the world for the first time. That makes it all worthwhile.”

Dr. Bruce Clarin and Dr. Adam Clarin are optometrists with Clarin Eye Care, Palmetto Bay’s oldest optometry practice. For more information, call their office at 305-253-2525 or visit them on the Web at www.clarineyecare.com.

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