Vision To Learn and Jackson Public Schools have partnered to provide free eye care to all 30,000 students, K-12, in JPS. After an initial vision screening, an eye exam and glasses will be provided to any child who needs them. An estimated 5,000 kids in Jackson go to school every day without the glasses they need to see the board, read a book or participate in the classroom.
43 students put on their new glasses for the first time today at Timberlawn Elementary School in Western Hills. Participating in the launch of the effort were Jackson Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Freddrick Murray, Vision To Learn Founder and Chair Austin Beutner, and Vision To Learn Mississippi Director Gayle Wicker.
“Glasses will change these kids’ lives – they’ll feel more confident and engaged and will do better in school and in life,” Austin Beutner, Founder of Vision To Learn, said. “Vision To Learn serves kids in over 180 cities from Honolulu to Baltimore. We are delighted to expand our services to Mississippi, and to be working with Jackson Public Schools to provide students with the glasses they need.”
“Thousands of Jackson Public Schools students have vision issues. With the help of Vision To Learn, we will make sure every student who needs glasses, gets them,” said Superintendent Murray. “This effort will help thousands of our scholars in Jackson see the board, read a book and participate in class.”
Vision To Learn will provide vision screenings to every child in Jackson Public Schools, and its clinics will travel to schools and provide each child who did not pass the screening with an eye exam. If the child needs glasses, he or she can choose their very own style and frame, and the glasses will be provided to the child at school within two weeks, all free of charge. So far, 380 JPS students have been screened and 53 students have received eye exams.
The Vision To Learn efforts in Jackson are supported, in part, through grants from Jim and Donna Barksdale, Ambassador John Palmer and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Vision To Learn began operations with one van in Los Angeles in 2012, and now serves students in low-income communities in over 180 cities from Honolulu to Baltimore. Vision To Learn serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach children in low-income communities; more than 89% of kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and 87% of kids of color. Since its inception, Vision To Learn has helped screen over 430,000 students, provided almost 85,000 with eye exams, and over 65,000 with glasses, all free of charge.
Mississippi Director, Vision To Learn