By Paul O’Rourke
Located in Lititz, Pennsylvania and founded in 1746, Linden Hall is this country’s oldest girls’ boarding/day school and where, according to the official website, its two hundred or so 6-12th grade students are encouraged to grow and thrive in bold ways and to fearlessly attempt the unknown.
With that mission in mind, Dr. David Silbert and his wife, Jennifer, organized a late March spring break trip to Ecuador for a dozen Linden Hall students, 3 days of which were spent in a variety of locations in and around Riobamba, performing pediatric patient follow up (Dr. Silbert had participated on the September 2014 Ecuador program) and extensive vision screening and eyeglass fittings for school-aged kids as well as adults. All of this work was accomplished in conjunction with VHI’s ongoing collaboration with FIBUSPAM in Riobamba.
Judging from the reports—a total (both adult and kids) of 816 eye exams provided and a combined 415 prescriptions measured and eyeglasses fit—spring break for the Linden Hall students was nothing short of a bold and fearlessly executed success. Gratifying was the word Linden Hall’s Executive Assistant, Heather Modjesky, first used when asked to describe the students’ reaction to their experience with VHI. “No,” she reconsidered, “how about absolutely enthralled.” A good portion of that enthusiasm may have been generated by how a classroom of third graders, many of who required vision correction, reacted when informed they needed eyeglasses. “It was like they’d won the lottery,” said one Linden Hall student. “They were so excited that they’d be able to see better.”
“That our students were able to be a part something so life changing,” Heather explained, “well, it’s not an over exaggeration to say this trip changed their lives, too.”
Growth spurts taking on a whole new meaning.