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Timeline of Community Service

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Serving the Community

This tradition of serving the community dates back to the College’s earliest existence and continues today.

  • 1933: NECO students begin providing care to the homeless children of Boston’s West End.
  • 1930s: Then president, Theodore Klein, is quoted as saying that he dreams of one day opening a “charity clinic” for the people of Boston who are in need.
  • 1950: The College founds the Boston Eye Clinic, located on Commonwealth Avenue. Over the years, the clinic would serve thousands of Boston’s children, with much of the care given for free.
  • 1950: Then dean Ralph Green establishes the College’s school screening programs for children in need, performed by teams of four or five senior optometry students.
  • 1950: Early collaborations begin with charitable organizations such as the Italian Home for Children, the Home for Catholic Children, and the Home for Little Wanderers.
  • 1970s: NECO pilots an early partnership with community health centers and starts eye clinics within community health centers.
  • 1980s: NECO founds eye clinics at the Perkins School for the Blind and the Cotting School for Multi-handicapped children to serve individuals with intellectual disabilities.
  • 1990s: NECO curriculum changes to ensure that every student will have clinical experience at a community health center and a Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
  • 2000s: NECO founds two school-based eye clinics, the only of their kind in the state. One clinic is in Framingham, MA with the Framingham Public School System and the other is in Boston at the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School.
  • 2010: NECO founds the mobile eye clinic, On-Sight. Within three years, the mobile eye clinic provides eye care services to 4624 patients at 141 different MA community sites, prescribes 2281 pairs of glasses, and prescribes 454 low vision devices.
  • 2013-2014: NECO students screen 8,000 children.
  • 2014: NECO begins a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Boston and screens 356 members and provides comprehensive eye care and eyeglasses to 43 students.