More than 20 students are receiving free eyeglasses today at Kihei Elementary School thanks to a generous $25,000 grant by the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, in collaboration with Project Vision Hawai`i and Vision To Learn.
Kihei is one of 10 Maui schools that will receive free vision testing and glasses for students in need through this First Hawaiian Bank Foundation grant and in partnership with the two nonprofit providers. Project Vision Hawai`i handles preliminary screenings for all students. Approximately 300 students will be referred for free eye exams and glasses, provided at their schools by Vision To Learn.
Students trying on their glasses for the first time are expected to be the centerpiece of Wednesday’s celebratory event. Kihei School is the most recent school to be served. Over the past month, 792 Kihei students were screened and 133 (17 % percent) were found to have a potential vision problem, but did not have glasses. 39 students returned consent forms and received eye exams, and 22 were prescribed glasses. Additional exams in Maui are scheduled in January.
Every school day, more than 18,000 Hawaii children go to their classrooms without the glasses they need to clearly see the board, read a book, view an electronic device or participate in classroom activities. The primary hurdle is a lack of access to vision services for students in low-income communities. To combat this problem, Project Vision Hawai`i and Vision To Learn bring vision services to students at school using mobile clinic vans. The organizations have partnered since 2015, to provide more than 45,000 students with vision screenings and 1,700 students with eye exams.
“Any students unable to do their best simply because no one knows that they need glasses is not OK,” said Annie Valentin, CEO of Project Vision Hawaii. “We are committed to giving as many families as possible who need them free exams and glasses.”
“Vision To Learn is delighted to give Hawai`i children the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life,” said Vision To Learn President Ann Hollister. “We are grateful to the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation for helping bring services to students in Maui, together with our partners at Project Vision Hawai`i.”
This 10 school Maui project is supported by funding from the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation.
“First Hawaiian Bank Foundation is pleased to continue its support for this critical program, which ensures students attending school can see clearly,” said Sharon Brown, President of First Hawaiian Bank Foundation. “Every child deserves to be able to see the board at school.”