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sight for sore eyes

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Some bright new ads are coming into focus in the urban areas of Los Angeles.

ChildSight, a nonprofit program that provides schoolchildren with free vision screenings and prescription eyeglasses on the spot, has launched a campaign to promote its services in the Los Angeles area. The promotional effort, created by the local Ortega Design Group, kicked off last week with buses wrapped bumper to bumper in colorful ads.

The ad push for the mobile eye-care unit, part of Helen Keller Worldwide, is the first of its kind on the West Coast. Designer Juan Ortega said the branding effort has "attitude" to convince elementary- and secondary-school students that the program is "cool." The buses feature huge photos of hip-looking youngsters wearing glasses. Ortega said he used a variety of fresh faces without being weighted toward any single ethnic group.

Originally developed seven years ago in New York, ChildSight has visited 340 schools, screened 174,000 students and distributed more than 27,000 pairs of glasses. Organizers note that glasses frequently improve per formance and behavior in the classroom.