About one in five kids will naturally need glasses to see the board, read a book, or participate in class. Unfortunately, in low-income communities across the country, 95% of kids who need glasses, about 2,000,000 in total, do not have them. What chance does each of these children have to succeed 
in school, let alone break free from poverty?

Jessica Villa, YMCA After School Program Director, realized that many students in Sequoia YMCA’s two Summer Learning Programs may need glasses. She contacted the non-profit Vision To Learn. Vision To Learn was founded to make sure every child has the glasses he or she needs to succeed in school and in life. Its mobile clinics solve the problem by bringing eye exams and glasses, free of charge, to children at schools in low-income communities.

Jessica was able to schedule Vision to Learn to send their mobile van to both of our summer learning sites in July. At Roosevelt Elementary, 11 out of 53 students need glasses, 2 of which were recommended to visit an optometrist for further tests. At Adelante 7 out of 30 students needed glasses. That’s 22% of these students needing glasses! Each of these students will receive a free pair of glasses.

Girl with glasses

There were a few students that were very excited to pick out their eye glass frame and very anxious to tell all their new friends how they get to wear these new glasses! It was a very successful and exciting day!

In 2013, the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA did an analysis of the Vision To Learn model to determine its effectiveness. The results were overwhelmingly positive. Teachers reported that the glasses helped students become more engaged in the classroom and more confident about participating in class, which led to fewer class disruptions! They also found that providing glasses in a group setting helped reduce the stigma of getting glasses. Allowing them to pick out their own frames helped encouraged students to wear their glasses at school and at home. Parents also said that the glasses improved life at home. Many explained they could now understand their children’s previous academic struggles and anxiety.

We hope that our summer learning students at Roosevelt Elementary and Adelante find that their glasses have the same kind of positive impact on their lives! Thanks Vision To Learn for providing these students with glasses and the opportunity to see!