Vision To Learn Announces SJUSD Free Glasses Program With Partners Kaiser Permanente South Bay and the Sharks Foundation.
SAN JOSE, CA — Students at Selma Olinder Elementary were delighted today when San Jose Sharks players helped them try on their brand new glasses. The glasses were provided by non-profit Vision To Learn which kicked-off its third year serving students in Santa Clara County by providing free glasses to 47 students from kindergarten through fifth grade at Olinder. Vision To Learn Founder Austin Beutner joined representatives from Kaiser Permanente South Bay, the San Jose Sharks, the Sharks Foundation and San Jose Unified School District to celebrate the project’s success to-date and service to come in the new year. The children were also presented with complimentary tickets to the Sharks home game on October 5.
“Vision To Learn gives kids the glasses they need to succeed in school, and in life,” said Beutner. “We have helped lots of kids in 110 cities throughout California, and it’s a joy to watch a child put on his or her glasses and see the world in a different way,” he added.
Vision To Learn has served students throughout San Jose Unified School District since 2014. The exams and glasses are supported by grants from Kaiser Permanente South Bay, which has supported the program for three years, and the Sharks Foundation, which recently formed a partnership with Vision To Learn.
“Kaiser Permanente is thrilled to support Vision To Learn and their dedication to working in our communities,” said Chris Boyd, Sr. Vice President and Area Manager, Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center. “Providing eyeglasses helps ensure these children will have the best opportunity to excel in school and beyond,” he added.
“A child’s ability to see is such a vital indicator of whether they can succeed in the classroom. We are proud to help ensure that students across San Jose will have access to such an important educational instrument,” said Heather Hooper from the Sharks Foundation.
In the coming school year, Vision To Learn will help nearly 1,000 students in Santa Clara County get glasses, including over 600 in San Jose Unified. The success of this project has been assisted by a close collaboration between Vision To Learn and San Jose Unified.
“The district and our school nurses are excited to partner with Vision To Learn to help students achieve in the classroom and beyond,” said Melinda Landau, Manager of Health and Family Support Programs for San Jose Unified School District. “Because so much of early learning is visual, our nurses made sure every kid who wanted a screening could get one.”
Vision To Learn’s optometrists work out of a mobile clinic that travels to a different school site every day. Students are examined on the bus and, if glasses are prescribed, they choose their frames from a wide selection of colors and sizes. The glasses are then delivered to the kids at school within three weeks. All of Vision To Learn’s services – from the exam to the glasses – are provided free of charge to the child.
Vision To Learn began operations in Los Angeles in 2012, and now serves kids in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan. To date Vision To Learn has screened more than 325,000 kids, examined more than 60,000 and provided glasses to 45,000. UCLA research shows that Vision To Learn has a direct impact on education outcomes for children supported by the program and improves the learning environment for the entire classroom and school. Vision To Learn serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach kids in low-income communities. More than 89% of kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and 87% are kids of color.
Damian Carroll, Manager of External Relations
— © The Mercury News