A city-wide student vision care program, sponsored in part by the Detroit Pistons Foundation, celebrated providing its 1,000th pair of glasses today at Ronald Brown Academy. Pistons Community Ambassador Earl Cureton, Foundation Vice Chairman Arn Tellem, and City of Detroit Health Officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun helped 49 students try on their glasses for the first time. Each student received a vision screening from the Detroit Health Department, then a free eye exam and glasses from Vision To Learn (VTL), a national non-profit devoted to providing access to vision care for children in low-income communities.
“As a glasses-wearer myself, I know how important good vision is at school – and on the basketball court,” said Mr. Tellem. “It’s great to see all of these kids getting the help they need to be superstars at school.”
The project kicked off in October, with a goal of serving students city-wide over the next two years. Since then mobile vision clinics have visited thirty Detroit Public Schools Community District and charter elementary schools. All told, the program is expected to provide 5,000 students eyeglasses this year.
“I’m thrilled to see this program already making such a major impact,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “Through this partnership, we are eliminating a major educational hurdle for students all over the city. This program connects the dots so that kids who need glasses, get glasses. Every child deserves the opportunity to learn.”
Stanley Johnson appeared in an official Detroit Pistons PSA encouraging kids to wear and care for their new glasses. “I get an eye exam every year and wear my glasses,” said Mr. Johnson, “You should too.”
"Vision To Learn is proud to serve students in the City of Detroit, and delighted to partner with the Pistons Foundation," said Ann Hollister, Executive Director of Vision To Learn. “There’s nobody better than Pistons superstars to show our kids that wearing their glasses is cool."
According to the Detroit Health Department, disadvantaged children are less likely to see an eye care professional as parents may have barriers to care and access to treat their child’s vision issues. In Detroit, 17% of children screened by the Detroit Health Department's vision program fail the screening and need an eye-exam, but only 2% report follow-up for eye exams. This effort is of great importance for Detroit students with vision problems because they tend to have lower academic performances, which can lead to lower life expectancy, worse health outcomes, and lower employment earnings.
For more information, please visit visiontolearn.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 485-9196.
You may also contact the Detroit Health Department’s Vision program at 313-876-0134 or email@example.com.