SNN: GRPS Vision to Learn

Mar 14, 2019

School News Network

Grand Rapids Public Schools students are receiving free eye exams and glasses thanks to a partnership that aims to help them succeed in school by improving their vision.

Seventh-grader Frederick Charles had a lot to say about how new glasses will help him at school: His grades will go up. He’ll get A’s and everything will be easier to read.

He and 21 other students got new glasses from Vision to Learn. The non-profit organization, in collaboration Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Kent County Health Department, launched its local services at Aberdeen School. They plan to provide free vision screening, eye exams and glasses to students at all 50 GRPS schools.

Vision to Learn started in Los Angeles in 2012. It serves children in low-income communities in more than 300 cities in 12 states. About 90 percent live in poverty and 85 percent are children of color.

Charity founder Austin Beutner, a L.A. superintendent, grew up in Grand Rapids and pegged his hometown as a place to help.

About 3,000 children in Grand Rapids currently go to school without the glasses they need. Aberdeen Principal Jamie Masco believes removing barriers by providing glasses can increase student’s academic and social-emotional success.

Charles Honey reporting for School News Network.