FLINT, Mich. – An estimated 1,000 children in Flint Community Schools (FCS) go to school every day without the glasses they need. Tom Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons and founder of the FlintNOW Foundation, is partnering with Vision To Learn on a new initiative to provide free vision screenings, eye exams and glasses to every student in need throughout FCS.
“Kids in Flint still need our support more than ever and we’re committed to looking out for their future,” said Mr. Gores. “We are proud to bring Vision To Learn into this community to give children the gift of sight, a tool with lasting impact that will make a difference in their lives for years to come.”
Mr. Gores and the Detroit Pistons Foundation first helped bring Vision To Learn to Detroit in 2016, and they are now expanding the partnership to Flint. The new initiative officially launched this month at Brownell K-2 STEM Academy, where 49 students put new glasses to work for the first time. Throughout the summer and into next school year, this effort will expand across the district.
“We provide kids with the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life,” said Vision To Learn Founder Austin Beutner. “Two million kids across the country lack the glasses they need, and we’ll keep working to make sure they get the help they deserve.”
Research by faculty from the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA about students who received glasses from Vision To Learn showed the students’ grades improved and they were more engaged in the classroom. Students with untreated vision problems often struggle at school, and they are less likely to achieve reading proficiency by third grade, putting them at greater risk of dropping out.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who leads the Pediatric Public Health Initiative at Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital, and has partnered with FlintNOW on other children’s health initiatives, said this program has extensive benefits for Flint kids.
“This is exactly the kind of support we need to flip the script and make sure our kids have a bright future,” said Dr. Hanna-Attisha. “Thank you to Tom, FlintNOW and Vision To Learn for continuing to invest in our children and our community.”
About FlintNOW Foundation
The FlintNOW Foundation (www.FlintNOW.org) was created by Tom Gores to provide private sector support for immediate relief efforts during the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and for long-term programs focused on economic development, nutrition and health care for residents of the city. FlintNOW partnerships include a $2 million pledge from Tom Gores and Consumers Energy to start the Flint Promise scholarship program, a $25 million economic development program launched with Huntington Bank, a healthy foods initiative created with the National Basketball Players Association, and numerous campaigns that have provided millions of dollars in support to local Flint charitable organizations.
About Vision To Learn
Vision To Learn, a non-profit charity, started with one van in Los Angeles in 2012 and now helps kids in low-income communities in 244 cities in 13 states. Vision To Learn serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach children; about 90% of kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and about 85% are kids of color. Since its inception, Vision To Learn has helped provide vision screenings to over 550,000 kids, provided 125,000 kids with eye exams and 100,000 with glasses, all free of charge to students and their families. For more information on Vision To Learn, please visit www.visiontolearn.org.