On June 3, Vision To Learn held its annual “Spring Spectacle” event. This year, over 220 friends of the organization—including patrons, volunteers, students, parents, teachers, principals, and more—joined to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year in providing glasses to children. This year’s event commemorated VTL’s passing the significant threshold of providing more than 100,000 children the glasses they need to succeed, as Vision To Learn now provides glasses to kids from Los Angeles to Newark, from Honolulu to Detroit—in all, to children in more than 260 cities across 13 states.
Honorees at this year’s event included Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo and Robin Kim. Assemblywoman Carrillo was a founding Board member of VTL, and has been an inspiration to many for her dedication to community empowerment and bringing glasses to those most in need. “When we put the glasses on the kids, and they’re able to see for the first time, we are changing the future of California,” she said after being recognized with the Community Leader award. Robin Kim, through her personal family foundation, has helped over 1,000 children receive eye exams and glasses, and was recognized with the Civic Leader award for her generous efforts towards helping youth in need throughout Los Angeles.
VTL also welcomed to the “Spectacle” three children from the Los Angeles area who have received glasses from Vision To Learn: Marielle Trotter, a 2nd grader from Ronald E. McNair Elementary; Emmanuel Arapacio, a 7th grader at Alexander Fleming Middle School; and Noah Endo, a senior at Paramount High School. Each of the three shared how glasses have made a difference in their lives, including Emmanuel’s noting that he loves his glasses so much that he wears them 24/7—even in the shower!
Noah Endo, a graduating senior, spoke about how his new glasses helped to improve his work as an artist. He recalled that his vision problems began in fourth grade. When he was about 12, the glasses broke, just as his vision was getting worse; but during his senior year, VTL provided him with a screening, eye exam and new glasses. “I was behind on my prescription,” said Noah, 17. “My vision is better with the new glasses.”
Vision is absolutely vital to Noah’s hobby as a self-taught artist. This year, Noah won first place in the Lucille Roybal-Allard Student Art Competition, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-Downey, CA). In late June, he will travel to Washington for a reception, where his winning work, created using colored pencils, markers and pens, will hang in the U.S. Capitol for a year.
Not to be outdone by the older students, 2nd grader Marielle spoke to the crowd about how she can see clearly now, and concluded the event by cutting the cake for all to share as they closed out the sunny Sunday event.
Vision To Learn is proud of the work it does, and of helping kids benefit from receiving such a simple yet powerful tool—a pair of glasses. Every child deserves the chance to succeed in school, and in life, and VTL looks forward to helping even more children in the coming year!