Pittsburgh Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster Helps Kids Try on New Glasses at Event
Children in Pittsburgh Public Schools will get the glasses they need, as Vision To Learn launches an effort to help kids in Pennsylvania. An estimated 2,650 children in Pittsburgh go to school every day without the glasses they need to see the board, read a book, study math, or participate in the classroom.
“We provide kids with the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life,” said Vision To Learn President Ann Hollister. “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.”
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet, Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program Executive Director Patricia Allan, Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vision To Learn Pennsylvania Co-Chair Bruce Gebhardt, and Vision To Learn President Ann Hollister participated in the launch of an initiative on Friday to provide every child who needs vision care with free eye exams and glasses in Pittsburgh Public Schools, through a collaboration between Vision To Learn and Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The impact of Vision To Learn’s work in our schools is immediate and profound,” said Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Superintendent, Dr. Anthony Hamlet. “When our children can see the world around them, they are better equipped to learn and grow.”
Pittsburgh King PreK-8 is the first school to be served by this effort. To date, all 433 students were provided with vision screenings. 30 students received eye exams, and 21 were provided with glasses.
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.
Being part of the effort to bring this worthy program to my hometown gives me tremendous satisfaction, and I am grateful to the Pittsburgh-area foundations that make this possible,” said Vision To Learn Pennsylvania Co-Chair Bruce Gebhardt. “Seeing the board or a book clearly is a critical stepping stone to achieving success in school as well as in life.”
During the 2018-2019 school year, Vision To Learn will work with Pittsburgh Public Schools to serve schools throughout the district. Over the next school year, Vision To Learn aims to also establish partnerships with school districts in surrounding areas of Allegheny County as well as Westmoreland County and Washington County. Building on its efforts in the southwest region of the state, Vision To Learn will work with local partners to assess the feasibility of expansion to other regions of the state.
The initiative is supported by the Beutner Family Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Deerbrook Charitable Trust, Essilor Vision Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Hillman Foundation, Pittsburgh Steelers, PNC Charitable Trusts, Richard King Mellon Foundation, and RP Simmons Family Charitable Trust.