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5,000th pair of eyeglasses delivered by Vision for Baltimore

City officials and partners celebrated the 5,000th pair of glasses provided through the Vision for Baltimore program to Baltimore City Public Schools students.

Launched in May 2016, Vision for Baltimore is a partnership that includes the Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore City Public Schools, Johns Hopkins University, nonprofit provider Vision To Learn, and lifestyle brand Warby Parker. The program ensures elementary and middle school students across Baltimore receive glasses, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

“As a city, we have to not only build better schools, but also ensure our students have everything they need to be successful in school and in life,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “Vision for Baltimore is a testament to the power of public-private collaborations and will make a real difference to improve performance, engagement, and opportunity for our young people.”

Maryland law requires students in pre-kindergarten, first grade, and eighth grade to receive basic vision screenings. However, challenges, such as lack of transportation and limited access to vision providers, can create barriers to a student’s ability to receive vision care.

Vision for Baltimore improves access to this essential learning tool by bringing comprehensive care directly to students in schools. Through the program, all students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight receive a basic vision screening. If a student does not pass the initial screening, he or she is eligible for a vision exam. Glasses are then provided for those who need them–at no out-of-pocket cost to families. Students in need of additional care – including case management – are referred to further treatment.

“Glasses can make a huge difference for students – I know they did for me,” said City Schools CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises. “Thank you to all of our wonderful partners on reaching this milestone. Together, we’ve helped 5,000 young people in Baltimore do better in school and lead healthier lives, and I look forward to helping many more.”

Since 2012, nonprofit partner Vision To Learn has provided children with eye exams and glasses, all free of charge, in communities throughout California, Delaware, Hawaii and Iowa. The project in Baltimore is Vision To Learn’s largest operation on the East Coast.


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