Hi there! I’m Kristin Ellsworth, founder of Peeps Eyewear, a social enterprise encouraging children to love wearing glasses through empowering story characters and creative play accessories. I felt compelled to blog for the first time here, to talk about something very dear to my heart. It’s time for the second-annual Great Glasses Play Day! I co-founded this event last year with Ann Zawistoski, but it was actually a dream we each had for many years before that. You see when we met online, we discovered we had a lot in common. Both of our daughters were diagnosed with vision issues at a very young age, and they each were the only kids in their preschool classrooms to wear glasses (1 in 20 young kids should wear glasses, but only 1 in 100 do).
Ann and I were both inspired to start professional ventures by our experience of having a young daughter in glasses. She started Little Four Eyes, an amazing online support community for parents of kids in glasses, and I started the social enterprise Peeps Eyewear after my daughter refused to wear her glasses because “princesses don’t wear glasses” (my daughter eventually grew out of the princess phase, but I realized there were many other young children out there who felt the same). I stayed busy writing my first book about an adventurous superhero princess in glasses who saves the day, designing a line of glasses for girls (and soon boys!), and raising awareness of early childhood vision issues with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin, but there was still a dream I hoped with Ann’s help could be accomplished. We wanted to host an event where kids in glasses could be surrounded by other kids just like them, in playgrounds and parks, even online, having fun and proudly wearing their glasses.
This week, in sixteen cities across the US (and one in South Africa!) we will see that dream come true in an big way! Kids and families will spend a few hours in parks or online, where they will meet each other, play, create and leave feeling great about wearing glasses, patches or contacts while showing the world that our youngest children’s vision health is important.
I’m incredibly excited to participate in our local Madison-area event here in Wisconsin, and I hope that if you have a young child in your life who wears glasses, you will invite him or her to a Great Glasses Play Day in your area, or celebrate online. You can find all the meet-ups on the GGPD website, along with ideas on how to join in the fun online.
Vision is nothing to play with because it is such an important issue that only doctors can address, but it is important that once a child’s impairment is identified, wearing glasses is celebrated. That’s where the Great Glasses Play Day comes in, celebrating kids who wear glasses and their unique style. I hope you can join us!
A special thanks to Jessica Butler of Eye Power Kids Wear for my daughter’s awesome Great Glasses T-Shirt.