Ohio Children Safely View Total Solar Eclipse Thanks to Sight-Saving Shades from FirstEnergy

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It’s not every day that midafternoon seems more like midnight, when sudden darkness causes planets and stars to emerge, temperatures to drop suddenly and animals to grow quiet with confusion.

On Monday, April 8, millions of people throughout the United States turned their heads to the sky to watch a total eclipse of the sun. And thanks to a generous donation by FirstEnergy, thousands of children in northeast Ohio had the glasses they needed to stay safe while experiencing this rare celestial event.

On April 3, Louie the Lightning Bug, mascot for FirstEnergy and the electric industry, visited Andrew J. Rickoff School in Cleveland to deliver 500 pairs of ISO-certified eclipse viewing glasses for students in grades pre-K through eight. Louie also surprised pre-K and kindergarten students with a special assembly, teaming up with three of the school’s 8th graders to explain the eclipse and highlight the importance of wearing sight-saving shades.

As one of FirstEnergy’s most enthusiastic safety ambassadors, Louie also provided an activity book filled with dozens of electrical safety tips, games and coloring activities to remind students how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe around electricity all year long.

FirstEnergy provided an additional 1,000 pairs of glasses to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to help fill gaps left by a donation from NASA. The company also delivered 1,500 pairs of glasses to Akron Public Schools, where the glasses were primarily distributed to 5th grade students throughout the district’s 27 elementary schools. 

“FirstEnergy is thrilled to have helped so many local students enjoy this incredible learning experience safely,” said Lorna Wisham, Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Community Involvement. “We’ll continue to support students throughout our company’s footprint, working with nonprofits and schools to provide tools and resources that empower youth and help build a brighter future for everyone.”

FirstEnergy procured the certified glasses through a sponsorship with Prevent Blindness of Northeast Ohio. Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. FirstEnergy has supported the nonprofit for many years, with several employees serving on the organization’s Executive Council during that time. 

“We wanted to help ensure that all eyes were protected while viewing this spectacular astral event – one not to be seen again in Ohio for more than 70 years,” said Amy Pulles, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio. “We’re grateful to all the sponsors of the Solar Eclipse Eye Safety Campaign, including FirstEnergy, whose generous support enabled us to distribute over 70,000 pairs of glasses across Ohio.”

It will be decades before another eclipse occurs in the United States, and most glasses shouldn’t be used if they’re more than three years old. But Astronomers Without Borders is now collecting gently used glasses, so we can all help underserved communities and schools around the world stay safe during future solar eclipses. 

Last Modified: April 11, 2024