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Wills Eye helps kids who need glasses, and a West Chester University professor illustrates a puppet for a new Apple TV Plus show

A West Chester professor illustrates a character for the Helpsters, a new Apple TV show.

About 10,000 children have received new eyeglasses over the last decade.
About 10,000 children have received new eyeglasses over the last decade.Read moreJin David Kim

Kids with poor vision get free eyeglasses

About 600 Philadelphia-area children recently received new eye glasses.

The kids were among the nearly 1,200 who received free vision screenings during October’s Give Kids Sight Day, courtesy of Wills Eye Hospital, the Philadelphia Eagles, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, and Essilor Vision Foundation, which provided two pairs of eyeglasses to each child.

This is the 10th year the event has been held, bringing to about 10,000 the number of children who have received eyewear gratis.

While the screenings are meant to reach children who are uninsured, others are also served, said event spokesperson Jin David Kim. Doctors volunteer their time, he said.

“There are always kids with really complicated issues,” said Kim. Those children are referred to Wills Eye for follow-up.

Helping hand for those who are looking for a career path

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative just got a boost from Citizens Bank.

In November, the bank presented a check for $125,000 to the group to help support its efforts to partner with employers across the region. WPSI provides skills training and connects unemployed and underemployed Philadelphians to jobs with strong starting wages and potential career paths.

Past organizations that have worked with WPSI include SEPTA, which offered bus operators a starting salary of $37,000, and the Philadelphia Fire Department, which offered emergency medical technicians a starting salary of $44,000.

“Citizens Bank is committed to increasing workforce development opportunities in the Greater Philadelphia region," said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, president of Citizens Bank, mid-Atlantic region, in a press release. “Few organizations have the track record of the team at the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.”

Since 2012, Citizens Bank has donated more than $450,000 to the program.

Area professor designs puppets for new TV series

Move over Muppets, there are new puppets in town.

Jeremy Holmes, a West Chester University professor of graphic and interactive design, was in the right place at the right time. A colleague from Monkey Boy Productions in Glenside, which specializes in puppet design for Broadway and television shows, asked him to submit puppet designs for a new Apple TV Plus show, Helpsters. The show follows a team of problem-solving “monsters” and was developed by Sesame Workshop.

The two new furry characters that Holmes submitted for consideration — Mr. Primm and Scatter — were a hit with the show’s creators.

In September, Holmes got to attend a shoot of Helpsters, where he met the director and the actors who will voice the puppets he made.

"It has been an amazing learning experience to see the characters I created come to life,” Holmes said in a press release.