The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) has announced the recipient of the ninth annual “Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award” as optician Danielle Crull, ABOM, author, business owner of A Child’s Eyes, organizer of The Pumpkin Patch Project, and founder of the Truffles the Kitty Organization (TKO). The award will be formally presented at the NCCVEH Annual Meeting on Sept. 14, 2023.
The Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award recognizes significant efforts by an individual or group of individuals to improve public health approaches for children’s vision and eye health at the state or national level. The award was established in 2014 by the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness to honor Bonnie Strickland and her groundbreaking work to establish a comprehensive system for children’s vision in the U.S. She served as Director of the Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, before her retirement in 2014.
Crull, the owner of Truffles the Kitty, was named the recipient of the award for her efforts to raise awareness of vision disorders in children, promoting early detection and treatment, supporting children in their patching treatment for amblyopia (lazy eye) and eyeglasses-wearing, and engaging families and the public in efforts to reduce stigma around vision disorders. Using Truffles as an ambassador, Crull effectively executes innovative approaches through social media, including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and widespread family and public engagement efforts.
Crull has authored two books: “Apple Patty Patches” and “Banana Bobby Wears Bifocals.” And, in 2017, she organized the Pumpkin Patch Project encouraging people to put patches on their pumpkins during the month of October, designed to demonstrate support for kids who are patching an eye for amblyopia treatment.
TKO is a non-profit organization which operates three different initiatives:
- A Campaign for Knowledge: working with doctors, schools, and communities, education and outreach efforts are aimed at making children feel more comfortable wearing glasses or eye patches. The campaign provides education and materials to parents and teachers to recognize possible early vision issues.
- A Campaign for Encouragement: sending Treats from Truffles packages to children wearing glasses and/or eye patches, and to children who will undergo eye surgery, all over the world.
- A Campaign for Assistance: providing funds to help families purchase the first pair of glasses for their child. The program also provides education on how glasses should fit and explains the eyeglasses prescription so parents can feel empowered about making decisions.
TKO also recently released the Patching with Truffles web application to support amblyopia treatment and occlusion therapy. The free app encourages children to continue with their patching each day by getting a different video from Truffles putting on her own eye patch. They can earn digital stickers of Truffles to put in the app’s sticker book and can send Truffles messages to relay how they are doing.
“Thank you to the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness for this award. I am so honored!” said Crull. “I truly am grateful for the recognition for what Truffles and I have been doing to spread awareness of kids’ unique vision issues.”
“Congratulations to Danielle Crull and Truffles the Kitty for their tremendous work in helping children and their families learn about vision issues, providing effective programs that encourage adherence to treatment, and providing support for families globally,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.
Past recipients of the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award include Donny W. Suh, MD, FAAP, MBA, FACS, Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, University of California, Irvine; Shavette Turner, Vice President of Children’s Services at Prevent Blindness Georgia; Logan Newman, NBCT, ABO, MS Ed, Program Developer and NYS Certified Science teacher, Career in Technical Experience Teacher, and founder of the East High School Vision Care Program; Anne L. Coleman, MD, MPH, UCLA Stein Eye Institute; the Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study Group; Richard Bunner, retired from the Ohio Department of Health; Sean P. Donahue, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt University; the Illinois Eye Institute (IEI) at Princeton Vision Clinic; and the Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Children’s (PPOC).
For more information on the 2023 Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award, Prevent Blindness or the NCCVEH, please visit nationalcenter.preventblindness.org or contact Donna Fishman, director of the NCCVEH, at [email protected].
About the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs, and research. In 2009, Prevent Blindness established the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health.. Serving as a major resource for the establishment of a public health infrastructure, the National Center advances and promotes children’s vision and eye care, providing leadership and training to public entities throughout the United States. The National Center is advised by a committee of national experts and leaders from the fields of ophthalmology, optometry, pediatrics, nursing, public health, early childhood education and care, and family advocates to guide the work and recommendations of the Center. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call (800) 331-2020, or visit us at https://nationalcenter.preventblindness.org/.