As Jonathan Nesbit was growing up in York City, he was bullied in the third grade for his unstylish eyewear, he said.
Most of the other students didn't wear glasses, he said — so they picked on him.
And when he'd break his glasses, Nesbit said, his family wasn't always in the position to buy new ones for him.
"Now a lot of kids are in that position," he said, noting the many students in need at public schools throughout the county.
And now, with 15 years' experience of helping people see, the optician's business is giving back to those kids.
The program: When young people can pick out their own glasses without worrying about cost, they can feel confident and avoid distractions, Nesbit said.
"And that helps them to be better students," he said.
As managing optician of ModernEYES Optical at the York Galleria, he sees the process firsthand through a program called No Child's Vision Left Behind. It originated about two years ago at the first ModernEYES location in Lancaster, and the York location has participated since it opened about a year ago, Nesbit said.
The business works with 17 school districts — eight in York and nine in Lancaster — to provide eyewear vouchers to students who can't afford glasses, he said. All school district employees get 20 percent to 50 percent off eyewear at the business, and every two pairs of glasses sold generates a voucher that is given to a student in need at the district, Nesbit said.
"It's a great program," he said. "It's a win-win."
Since the York location opened, it has generated about 60 vouchers, Nesbit said. He said he's seen about 20 to 25 kids come in to receive their glasses this year — and the experience is unlike anything else.
Giving back: A lot of the students have already worn eyewear; they're just excited to be getting glasses again, Nesbit said.
And they get overjoyed to put on glasses that are fun, funky colors or have Spider-Man on them, he said.
One 8- or 9-year-old boy's prescription was so extreme that he couldn't read a piece of paper if it was in front of his face, Nesbit said. The boy had gone three or four months of school without glasses before he redeemed his voucher, he said.
"The joy of watching that happen is unexplainable. ... You really can't put a value on the cost of eyewear to help a student be able to see for the rest of the school year," he said.
ModernEYES also coordinates with school districts to offer public "drop-in" events so the community can help, too. One of the last events of the school year will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at William Penn Senior High School, 101 W. College Ave. in York City.
At the event, ModernEYES will showcase hundreds of $100 frames and donate one voucher to a York City student for every pair of glasses sold.
But the business is more than selling glasses, Nesbit said: He and his staff are able to experience the "constant joy" of helping children.
"We do this because we really do enjoy it. ... We're not like everybody else, and we embrace that," he said.