On June 1st, Vision To Learn held its fourth annual Spring Spectacle. This year, attendees gathered to celebrate Vision To Learn’s latest milestone of transforming more than 200,000 kids’ lives with glasses, while also honoring two visionaries: Chris Meledandri, CEO of Illumination; and U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.
Glasses have a profound effect on the life of a child, and this positive impact was captured perfectly in the first-hand account related by a very special student at the event. Santiago, a fifth grader in Los Angeles, was provided glasses by Vision To Learn. He took to the podium to explain the difference glasses have made for him: “If I cover my right eye, I can’t read things out of my left eye at all. If my teacher put anything on the screen I would have to ask him to zoom in, or I’d have to move to the front to see it or it would be all blurry. Now with my glasses, when I do fluency I can read much better and faster. I can read a book in one hour now! Writing is easier too, since I remember words better from reading them. I can see as well as everyone else is seeing!”
Santiago has big dreams of becoming an animator one day, so it was exciting for him to be on hand when Chris Meledandri, CEO of Illumination, was awarded Vision To Learn’s Civic Leader Award for his efforts in providing opportunities to the next generation and for using the power of stories to change lives. In his words, “When you can’t see the blackboard, chances are you also can’t see your own potential.” Illumination’s hallmark characters the “Minions” even attended the event, posing for photos with guests and providing a fun reminder that they too wear glasses.
Senator Chris Coons was recognized with the Community Leader Award by Vision To Learn. A champion for the organization from the beginning, Senator Coons has consistently supported Vision To Learn’s efforts in Delaware, and recently co-authored a bipartisan resolution passed unanimously by the United States Senate which recognizes Vision To Learn as a national leader in improving access to glasses for students in low-income communities and in helping students succeed in school. The Senator praised the accomplishments achieved this past year, but was equally excited for the future, often repeating the words “so far” to emphasize that Vision To Learn has no plans to slow down.
The evening was enjoyed by supporters, educators, and visionaries alike, as lively discussions were had of the many plans Vision To Learn has for continuing its work to help provide students with the necessary tools to succeed in school and in life.