Vision To Learn will distribute free glasses to 60 students at Whittier Elementary.
Vision To Learn’s project will provide free eye exams and free glasses to over 8,000 school children.
Vision To Learn to use state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly BYD electric bus.
Mayor Robert Garcia and Vision To Learn Founder Austin Beutner kicked off operations for the nonprofit organization Vision To Learn in Long Beach at a rally at Whittier Elementary School, where sixty students will receive free glasses. The nonprofit organization has entered into an agreement with Long Beach Unified School District to bring its successful model of vision services for school children to Long Beach elementary schools. Vision To Learn expects to deliver free eye exams and free glasses to over 8,000 children from low-income families in Long Beach.
“I grew up wearing glasses and still wear them today,” said Mayor Garcia. “We want to ensure that every kid has the same opportunity to learn and succeed in school.”
Vision To Learn Founder and Chairman Austin Beutner explained that many children lack access to many basic tools to succeed. “Vision To Learn helps provide every child with the chance to succeed in school and in life.”
Vision To Learn’s optometrists work out of a mobile clinic bus 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.
Long Beach Unified School Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said, “We are thrilled at the opportunity to benefit so many of our students at no cost to parents or taxpayers. Our students love wearing their new glasses and teachers tell us they see immediate improvements in school work and classroom behavior.”
Whittier Elementary School Principal Lori Grady said, “The process has been really easy. With the bus parked here on campus our students could get examined in just a few minutes and go right back to class. The kids are really excited to be getting their glasses today.”
The Long Beach project was made possible by the support of The Unihealth Foundation and California Resources Corporation, which each donated $100,000.
A brand new all-electric bus, contributed by BYD Auto, was on display at the rally. The 40-foot cruiser, fully equipped with state-of-the-art exam rooms, will serve as a mobile clinic delivering two optometrists daily to school sites around Southern California.
Vision To Learn began operations in Los Angeles in 2012, and in the last two years has expanded to 28 school districts throughout California, including Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, Pasadena, Compton, Lynwood, and Inglewood. Vision To Learn also serves kids throughout the state of Delaware. Vision To Learn has examined over 30,400 kids and provided glasses to 23,548. 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.