Tyreke Evans hosts free eyecare event in hometown
With its origins in 2005 Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita relief efforts, the VSP Vision Care’s Mobile Eyes Program has benefited the New Orleans community immeasurably before. This summer, one of the non-profit organization’s biggest proponents, Tyreke Evans, became a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, adding to the connection between VSP and the Crescent City.
Evans and VSP have teamed up again in 2013 to host free basketball camps and eye exams in both Sacramento and Evans’ hometown of Chester, Pa. The versatile 6-foot-6 wing also has future plans to institute a program in his new NBA city of New Orleans.
“I wanted to give back to the people back home,” Evans explained from his event at the Boys and Girls Club in Chester, located about 20 miles from Philadelphia. “A lot of kids don’t even know that they need glasses, so we decided to give them free eye exams. Many of them are surprised that they need them. But it’s important that they get their eyes checked. To play sports or to do a lot of things, you need to have good vision.”
VSP’s unique Mobile Eyes program evolved from Katrina and Rita relief efforts in ‘05. The organization now has three mobile eyecare clinics that travel throughout the United States and work with local doctors to provide free exams and glasses to the underserved, underinsured community.
Evans’ participation also includes free basketball camps for youngsters, who get to interact with the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year and even shoot hoops with him.
It’s great to get to hang out with the kids,” Evans said. “A lot of kids look up to you because you’re in the NBA. A lot of them play basketball or football, and want to be where you are. Their parents definitely appreciate it. They are happy to see somebody come home and give back to the community.”
Although Evans has only been a member of the Pelicans for two months, he would like to launch a similar program for area residents in the future.
“I’m definitely interested in doing that,” he said. “We’re talking about it now. We’re looking forward to having something similar to this in New Orleans and to be able to interact with the community down there.”