- The effort has provided 77,415 children with vision screenings, 12,411 with eye exams, and 8,634 with glasses, all at no cost to the children or their families.
- Project Vision Hawaii provides the children with vision screenings and Vision To Learn provides eye exams and glasses.
- Governor Green was joined at the event by Vision To Learn Founder Austin Beutner, Project Vision Hawai’i Executive Director Darrah Kauhane-Floerke, representatives from the Hawai’i Department of Education and Med-QUEST.
HONOLULU, HAWAI’I – Governor Green joined Vision To Learn, Project Vision Hawaii along with state educators, healthcare and philanthropic leaders at King William C. Lunalilo Elementary School to recognize the progress of efforts to provide eye care to children across the state.
This effort has provided 77,415 children with vision screenings, 12,411 with eye exams, and 8,634 with glasses, all at no cost to the children or their families.
244 students at King William C. Lunalilo Elementary School were provided with a vision screening, 50 with eye exams and 34 with eyeglasses.
An estimated 15,000 students in Hawai’i go to school every day without the glasses they need to see the board, read a book, or participate in class.
Governor Green said, “Providing healthcare to our Keiki is essential to helping them get a good education. I’m proud of our nation-leading efforts here in Hawai’i to make sure all children have the glasses they need”.
Austin Beutner, Founder and Chairman of Vision To Learn said,
“When a kid comes to school hungry, we feed them. We make sure they have a great teacher in the classroom, along with the books and school supplies they need. Why not glasses? Every child in every school, everywhere in the country, should have the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life.”.
Vision To Learn efforts throughout Hawai’i are in partnership with Project Vision Hawai’i and the Hawai’i Department of Education.
“Any students unable to do their best simply because no one knows that they need glasses is not OK,” said Darrah Kauhane-Floerke, CEO of Project Vision. “We are committed to improving access to eye care.”
About one in four children, whether from a family with means or a family struggling to get by, will naturally need glasses. Children who need glasses and don’t have them are more likely to be misdiagnosed with behavioral issues in kindergarten, be considered “slow” learners by 5th grade, and to drop out of high school. Unfortunately, in low-income urban and rural communities, most children who need glasses don’t have them due to financial constraints, language barriers, unresponsive health bureaucracies or the simple fact there are no eye care professionals in their neighborhood. This effort in Hawai’i solves the problem by bringing the glasses to the kids where they are almost every day—their local neighborhood school.
Here’s how it works: Project Vision staff visit school to make sure every child receives a vision screening. For children who don’t pass the screening, Vision To Learn sends trained eye care professionals to visit schools and provide eye exams and glasses — all at no cost to the child or their family. Vision To Learn is a non-profit charity that operates the largest school based eye care program in the county. It has provided over 2.6 million children with eye care and about 400,000 with glasses, in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
A groundbreaking study recently published in The Journal for the American Medical Association Ophthalmology by researchers from the Center for Research and Reform in Education and the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University shows the impact of providing glasses to children at schools. Thousands of children from more than 100 schools in Baltimore who received glasses from Vision To Learn participated in the study. Guess what? The children who received glasses did better in school and the impacts were greater than more costly measures such as lengthening the school day, providing computers, or creating charter schools. The children who showed the biggest gains, the equivalent of an additional four to six months of learning, are those who are often the hardest to help—students in the bottom quarter of their class academically and students with learning differences and disabilities.
This program in Hawai’i is made possible thanks to the support of a long list of generous funders, including Hawai’i Department of Education, Med-QUEST, Beutner Family Foundation, Justine Stamen Arrillaga & John Arrillaga, The Edmund C. Olson Trust, Zilber Family Foundation, Freeman Foundation, and the Los Angeles Clippers.
About Vision To Learn
Vision To Learn, a non-profit charity, was founded in 2012 by Austin Beutner and the Beutner Family Foundation. Vision To Learn serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach children; about 90% of kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and about 85% are Black or Latino. Vision To Learn has provided more than 2.8 million children with vision screenings and more than 425,000 with glasses, in 16 states and the District of Columbia. It has also identified more than 50,000 children with more complex vision and medical issues – all at no cost to children or their families. For more information on Vision To Learn, please visit www.visiontolearn.org.