Ninety-five percent of students from low-income households who need glasses do not have them. As United Way of Central Iowa seeks to improve grade-level reading results, this was a problem they had to address. “If you can’t read a book or see the board it is hard to be successful in the classroom,” shares Elisabeth Buck, United Way of Central Iowa president. Vision to Learn, a national program designed to provide free eye exams and glasses to kids, offered a clear solution. “Once we discovered this opportunity, we immediately came to the Community Foundation.”
The Community Foundation connected donors with this critical cause and were able to fund the entire first year of the program to provide glasses to 160 elementary students in five Des Moines Public Schools. “The Community Foundation is committed to improving our community today and for generations to come. Given this forward-facing lens, Vision to Learn provided a collaborative opportunity to invest in the present with our eyes on these student’s futures,” says Kristi Knous, Community Foundation president.
A future that is looking very bright thanks to something as simple as a pair of glasses. Lovejoy Elementary Principal, Shelly Pospeshil, shared “We had bright students who were often distracted and struggled to focus on the work at hand. After receiving their glasses, everything changed. They are now equipped to set a successful path toward graduation and becoming the future leaders of our community.”