The world looks a whole lot different now to Lumberton fourth grade student, Karsten Scarborough. A caring teacher and a few of her generous friends gave him an unexpected life-changing gift; Enchroma glasses that enable him to see colors for the first time in his life.
Karsten is colorblind. The only colors he sees without the glasses are black, white, and gray. His parents realized he was colorblind the summer before third grade when he was tested.
Throughout his years of school, he has found ways to work around the impediment. At times, his twin sister would sit with him and help him identify colors. As he became older, he would read the labels on the crayons to identify the colors. Picking out his clothes was a challenge. It has not been easy. His mother Tiffany Scarborough says he has had to endure some teasing because of his inability to see color.
Lumberton Intermediate fourth grade writing teacher Ivory Gilcher saw the difficulties Karsten had with certain assignments that required the use of color and what he endured with the teasing. “It broke my heart for him,” she said.
While Gilcher was on Facebook one evening she happened to notice an ad for Enchroma glasses and saw that they offered glasses for kids. The glasses are very expensive and she thought she would enlist some help of a dear friend who she knew would be a good person to help her figure out how to cover the cost. “Within a matter of five minutes, the glasses were already paid for and ordered,” she said. The teacher did not have to pay anything; her friends took care of the cost.
Tiffany said they had never even said anything to the teacher about them. “That meant so much to us. They don’t even know Karsten and they bought those for him. So that was really really special that they did that,” she said
After the glasses had arrived, Gilcher set up a meeting during Spring Break with Karsten’s mom, Tiffany, and they met at the Hard Bean in Lumberton. Tiffany had no idea what the meeting was about. The teacher presented the Enchroma glasses to her and said Tiffany was very surprised and burst into tears.
The two ladies decided to surprise Karsten with the amazing gift and record his reaction. A few hours later that is just what they did.
“He’s so humble and so sweet. He was very reserved with a big smile on his face,” said Gilcher. She said he probably gave her a 100 hugs. His mom recorded the special event on video.
The glasses not only opened up the world of color for Karsten, but also opened up conversations in his class about wearing glasses and how students felt when they first had to wear their glasses.
Tiffany says the glasses have given him more independence. He is finally able to pick out what he wears in the mornings on his own and that makes him and his mom very happy. “He was so excited about that,” she said.
She continues to say that the glasses have helped his self confidence in so many ways. They did the colorblind test again and he passed all of it with his glasses on.
“He says he sees the world so much brighter,” said Tiffany.