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In introducing this year’s Lighthouse Award recipient Alan Lindy at the 13th annual Looking Out for Kids (LOFK) charity event Nov. 2 in Philadelphia, Salus University’s Susan Oleszewski, OD ’76, MA, shared a quotation from Pope Francis: “A population that does not take care of the elderly and of children and the young has no future, because it abuses both its memory and its promises.”

Dr. Oleszewski, affectionately known as “Dr. O,” within the Salus community, knows about taking care of children. She is the founder of the Looking Out for Kids charity, which serves economically disadvantaged kids who need vision and hearing services in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties. Those nominated for the Lighthouse Award are beacons of light and sources of strength for the communities in which they live, work and serve above and beyond their occupations.

And Dr. O’s quote from Pope Francis described Lindy perfectly, she said, as she ticked off the numerous reasons why he was more than a worthy recipient of the Lighthouse Award: Lindy’s longtime involvement in after school activities for disadvantaged kids, among the more notable being the Lindy Scholars program at Drexel University, in which undergraduate students from Drexel mentor middle school children in West Philadelphia trying to give them a leg up in academic preparation for them to succeed; and his service as a board member for the Legacy Youth Tennis Education Center – previously the Arthur Ashe Tennis Center – a nonprofit that uses tennis as a primary motivator to deliver programs that provide leadership opportunities and life skills that serve them as they grow.

“My dad always used to the say that the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree,” said Dr. Oleszewski, making reference to Lindy’s parents, Annabel and Philip B. Lindy. “His father and mother were very generous with their time, their talent and their treasure to support people who just didn’t have as much as they did. They had a very successful business, but they never forgot the people who didn’t have as much, and they spent a lifetime doing things that could change the lives of families and disadvantaged kids.”

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Upon accepting the award, Lindy, who serves as president of Lindy Communities, a fourth-generation, family-owned Philadelphia property-management company, said he’s been a big fan of Salus University’s commitment to disadvantaged children and its Looking Out for Kids initiative.

“We ask ourselves, how can we make a difference, in our environment, in our world?” said Lindy. “What impresses me about Salus is that it takes its skills, its expertise in vision and hearing aids and training physicians and says, ‘We have the structure, we have the talent’ to reach those children that are most in need. And they change the lives of those children. They can now see a blackboard, they can now hear a teacher. They can read much better. And, for that reason, I am honored to have this relationship with Salus and receive this award.”

Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter, Rosemary Connors, from NBC10 News in Philadelphia, once again hosted, her fifth time as emcee of the event. Among the special guests that Connors brought to the podium during the evening were three children – and what would the Looking Out for Kids event be without the children it serves – to share how Salus University’s initiatives and clinical facilities have helped them.

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Five-year old Hailey Tran, along with older children Arden Keitel, 10, and Keyerah McCoy, 11, were a little shy in front of the microphone, but were able to share with the crowd of nearly 300 at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue, how Salus, The Eye Institute and in particular Dr. Lindsay Bondurant, director of the Pennsylvania Ear Institute, and LOFK had helped them.

“They came to my school and they were being nice and they helped me find the perfect glasses,” said Keyerah. “It was very hard because I couldn’t see the board, so I always had to sit in the front and couldn’t sit with my friends. When I got my new glasses, I got to sit where I wanted. I feel like I’m learning a whole lot of things because I can see much better. I’m reading more, I’m enjoying math more and I’m busy doing everything.”

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“Dr. Bondurant, she helps me. She alters my hearing aid and she answers my questions,” said Arden. “For my hearing aid mold, she made it a tiny bit smaller so that it fit better, and I really like that.”

Among the title sponsors for the evening were Lindy Communities, National Vision Inc., along with gold sponsor, myeyedr.com. Sliver sponsors included Conicelli Autoplex, Fox Rothschild LLP and Office Depot Office Max. Bronze sponsors were Abington-Jefferson Health; American Painting & Decorating; Bohmora; Brass Lock & Key Corporation; Clauss Brothers Contractors Inc.’ Crown Holdings Inc.; E.B. O’Reilly; Elevator Construction & Repair Co.; EvolveIP/OPT4 Group; North American RX I Wear Inc.; Patriot Construction; Sharps Landscaping Inc.; Star Plumbing; Stevens & Lee; T3 Construction Inc.; and Willis Towers Watson.

Reade Fahs, CEO of National Vision Inc., who is also on the University’s Board of Trustees, acknowledged his company was happy to be one of the event’s sponsors because of the University’s reputation for training many of today’s leaders in various optometric associations across the country.

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“This evening is especially significant for us because of our common values systems,” said Fahs. “We as an organization are very much about trying to find ways to make eye exams and eyeglasses and contact lenses more affordable and accessible to various school districts in and around Philadelphia. This is very much at the heart of what we do and so we’re proud to be a sponsor again this year.”

The Looking Out for Kids charity fundraiser provides funding for vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams and eyeglasses, if needed, for each child and associated transportation costs for multiple school districts in the Philadelphia region and beyond. The program has also broadened its support for audiology services as well.

In 2018-2019, vision screenings were provided for 4,289 children; hearing screenings were provided to more than 3,500 children; 1,130 pairs of glasses were dispensed to schoolchildren; and two pairs of hearing aids were added to the loaner bank, which are provided to children while they wait to receive their own device.