America’s Best Provides Eye Care to the African Children’s Choir

African Children's ChoirOn January 5, 2016, our America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses store in Columbus, Ohio screened 16 children from the African Children’s Choir, which is currently touring in the United States.

The African Children’s Choir is composed of African Children, aged 7 to 10 years old. Many have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine, and disease. Because we focus our philanthropy efforts in the optical sector, where we feel we can make the greatest difference, we knew we needed to help these children.

Wendy Ashworth, the General Manager at our Columbus store, went above and beyond and brought in snacks and fun props for photos to make the day extra special for the kids.

Two of the children did need glasses and our Lawrenceville Lab processed the order.  We then arranged for the glasses to be dispensed at our America’s Best store in Grand Rapids, Michigan – where the tour was at the time. We wanted to make sure that these children received the services they needed while remaining flexible with their demanding tour schedule.


Four girls from the African Children's ChoirWendy Ashworth has been a General Manager for America’s Best since June 2014. Both her parents are opticians, so naturally she followed in the family tradition of making a career in the optical industry as a dual licensed optician.

Wendy also has her own nonprofit, the Ohio Princess Project – an organization that offers women recovering from addiction a fresh start, a new hope, and a chance to feel beautiful again. She is passionate about philanthropy and was ecstatic to have the opportunity to help the African Children’s Choir.

When asked about her experience helping these children, Wendy said:

“It was so impressive to see how happy these children were despite all that they had been through in life… and so grateful for what we were doing for them.”

She adds, “I think it’s an honor to work for a company that cares about more than just the bottom line.  They make it a point to help those who can’t help themselves.”

We also chatted with Kyle Serquinia, a Tour Leader for the African Children’s Choir. He said:

“The African Children’s Choir has been helping kids in Africa gain an education since 1984, in that time we have helped over 52,000 children. Our choir is choir 46 and we are so thankful that Winnie and Elizabeth can now see clearly. This is the first time that they have had glasses and now they will be more successful in school and in all of life.”

More About the African Children’s Choir

Little girl with sunglasses from the African Children's Choir

The African Children’s Choir was founded by Ray Barnett in 1984. After hearing a radio broadcast discussing the 150,000 children starving to death in Northern Uganda, Ray felt compelled to help, and headed out to the affected area to see how he could make a difference. While on this trip Ray and his companions met a young Ugandan boy who proceeded to light up their journey with his beautiful singing. His talent, happiness, and hope shone brightly through his voice, which stayed with Ray and the choir was formed.

The primary goal of the Choir is to raise awareness of the need of the need of destitute and orphaned children in Africa and to raise funds for continued development and support of the African Children’s Choir Programs. The choir’s international and educational endeavor provides unique training for the children. Once Choir members have completed a concert tour, they will return to their homelands with the tools necessary for bettering their future.

Jessica Altamirano

Jessica Altamirano

Communications Specialist at National Vision, Inc.
Jessica Altamirano is a proud Veteran spouse who has worked for NVI since 2014. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. Jessica is passionate about corporate-nonprofit partnerships, philanthropic efforts in developing countries, Veteran recruitment, and creating a culture of health and wellness in the workplace.
Jessica Altamirano