Article19 Vision to Learn Program Image

A student receives his new glasses, free of charge, at one of Vision To Learn’s events. (Courtesy photo)

Vision To Learn’, a non-profit that provides free eye exams and free eyeglasses to students in low-income communities, will host its first ever Baltimore event at Hampstead Hill Academy at 2:30 p.m. on May 10. Sixty students will receive free glasses at the event, which is being made possible through the partnership of ‘Vision toLearn’ with Baltimore Health, Baltimore City Public Schools, the Casey Foundation, the Abell Foundation and Johns Hopkins University.

Since its start in 2012, Vision to Learn has used mobile vision clinics to bring free glasses and vision care to underserved children across the country. Over the last four years, it has nearly tripled the number of students it serves, distributing over 24,000 free pairs of glasses to date.

According to Vision To Learn’s website, as many as 1.5 million children lack the glasses they need. Furthermore, low-income and minority students are disproportionally affected by untreated visual impairments, and generally have less access to corrective lenses. The organization aims to overcome the obstacles that prevent children from getting the eye care that they need.

A study by UCLA found that boys’ math grades improved by 8 percent a year after receiving their glasses from Vision To Learn.

The initiative, which was created by the Beutner Family Foundation in Los Angeles, has received nationwide recognition. It was named the inaugural recipient of the Rathmann Challenge for its outstanding work in areas of education and health. Vision to Learn was also recognized during a 2015 White House ceremony with President Obama, where it was praised for its commitment to deliver free eye exams and glasses to over 9,000 Hispanic students in Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Valley.

Vision To Learn has also fostered private-public partnerships to reach larger schools districts. Baltimore schools will represent the largest school district on the organization’s path to providing every child in the country with the glasses they need.