Organization to Provide Free Eye Exams and Glasses to Students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will get the glasses they need, as Vision To Learn, a non-profit charity, launches an effort to help kids in North Carolina. An estimated 14,000 children in Charlotte go to school every day without the glasses they need to see the board, read a book, or participate in the classroom.
“We provide kids with the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life,” said Vision To Learn Founder Austin Beutner. “Two million kids across the country lack the glasses they need, and we’ll keep working to make sure they get the help they deserve.”
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Deputy Secretary for Policy and Operations Christen Linke Young, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Clayton M. Wilcox, Hugh and Renee McColl, music mogul, philanthropist Percy “Master P” Miller, and Vision To Learn Founder Austin Beutner participated in the launch of an initiative on Wednesday to provide every child who needs vision care with free eye exams and glasses in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, through a collaboration among Vision To Learn, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
Thomasboro Academy is the first school to be served by this effort. In the past month, 610 students were provided with vision screenings, and 16% needed glasses. 141 students received eye exams, and 95 were provided with glasses.
“We have been humbled by the support in the local Charlotte community for this initiative and look forward to serving the children in Charlotte who need glasses,” said Vision To Learn Charlotte Co-Chairs Hugh and Renee McColl. “The beauty of the program is the instant impact of sight with the gift of glasses. Being able to see will change the learning and life trajectory for these children.”
“Launching this program in Charlotte is an example of how the private and public sectors can steward our collective resources and work collaboratively to address social determinants of health,” said DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen. “Across North Carolina, an estimated 140,000 students lack eyeglasses, and we look forward to building on the effort in Charlotte and serving even more North Carolina children.”
Research by faculty from the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA about students who received glasses from Vision To Learn showed the students’ grades improved and they were more engaged in the classroom. Students with untreated vision problems often struggle at school, and they are less likely to achieve reading proficiency by third grade, putting them at greater risk of dropping out.
“Students who need glasses and don’t have them are at a learning disadvantage,” said CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton M. Wilcox. “Providing eyeglasses is a simple act that helps students achieve in the classroom and can make a powerful, positive difference in their entire educational experience.”
“This initiative is a great example of how the Health Department’s School Health Program partners with schools and non-profit groups to remove barriers to learning and improve the quality of life for our students,” said Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris.
Master P helped motivate the students by sharing his personal journey at Wednesday’s event. “When I was asked by Austin to join Vision To Learn in this worthy cause, I knew immediately I wanted to jump in and do my part,” said Miller. “I share Austin’s vision on the importance of providing children with the tools they need to succeed.”
The initiative is supported with funding from our Co-Chairs Hugh & Renee McColl, and from Albemarle Foundation, Ally Financial, Marty & Weston Andress, Bank of America, Barings, The Beutner Family Foundation, C.D. Spangler Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Deerbrook Charitable Trust, The Dowd Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation, Essilor Vision Foundation, Hendrick Family Foundation, Howard R. Levine Foundation – Howard & Julie Levine, Hugh McColl, Jr., Ingersoll Rand Charitable Foundation, Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Leon Levine Foundation, One Charlotte Health Alliance, UTC Aerospace Systems, Erin & David Vorhoff, and Wells Fargo Foundation.
About TEAM HOPE NOLA
TEAM HOPE NOLA (THN) is a non-profit (501 c3) organization that was started to help the youth of New Orleans through educational programs, sports, and mentorships. In the beginning music mogul, philanthropist Percy (Master P) Miller had a vision to assist the children of New Orleans. In the past several years Miller and his team have helped over one million children and adults throughout the country by giving back to the inner cities. From the City of Compton in California to Orlando, Florida, Team Hope shows up with back-to-school giveaways, Thanksgiving food drives, Christmas giveaways, and scholarships for students. THN’s mission is to lend a hand when and wherever the organization can.