Giving Back, News

Operation: Kid Equip, Kresge Eye Institute set sights on helping local families

In keeping with the holiday spirit of philanthropy, Operation: Kid Equip teamed up with the Kresge Eye Institute to help five local families receive free eye exams and glasses.

Operation: Kid Equip addresses the needs of students disadvantaged or living in poverty. The participating teachers this holiday could nominate any family they felt was deserving. The Jensens were one such family.

“I can’t tell you what this means to our family,” says mother Cindy Jensen.

Daughter Tedi was hit in the head with a soccer ball several weeks ago, shattering her glasses. That could have added to the family’s already high costs. Tedi’s three younger siblings, Madison, Annabella and Charlie, are autistic and their therapies are expensive.  The teachers at Mt. Clemens Half Day School realized the Jensens were the perfect family to nominate.

They are a special family. Between working and caring for their children’s special needs both parents still find time to give back to the community. You’ll often find them volunteering at their kids’ schools, making meals and helping out at field days. “This family is kind, giving, and will drop everything to help others,” says the nominating teacher. “They give so much of themselves to others, it would be nice to help them.”

Cindy is very appreciative. “It’s not always the easiest because of the kids’ autism,” she says, tearing up. “There are struggles on a daily basis and to be given this opportunity is just amazing to us. It’s overwhelming that people can be so kind. Just for teachers to think of us and to nominate us is amazing.”

The challenges were very apparent while she waited with her three younger children while Tedi had her exam. Since Charlie, Madison and Annabella are non-verbal, the two older girls used an iPad app to communicate with their mother. They recently had a break though when the kids were able to order their own food at a restaurant, scrolling through the choices and pointing at what they wanted. Cindy was immensely proud.

You can keep up with Operation: Kid Equip’s new projects and learn more about volunteering here. For more information on the Kresge Eye Institute, one of the nation’s foremost medical centers for sight research and treatment, visit

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