Seeing clearly in Allamakee County
Providing a child with glasses is life-changing. They become more confident, participate more in the classroom, and improve in their schoolwork. Thanks to Vision To Learn, a nonprofit that provides eye exams and eyeglasses at no cost to schools and families, over 600 Postville students received vision screenings during the 2020-21 school year. More than 200 students needed an eye exam by Vision To Learn clinicians, and 193 students received glasses this May.
“Serving a community like Postville is extremely important, especially when access to vision care is a challenge form many families, says Corrine Kroger, Iowa regional director of Vision To Learn. “Families may have to travel a long way to get to an eye doctor, which means they have to take off work and take children out of school. That’s just not possible for many.”
With the support of local donors, the Allamakee County Community Foundation brought Vision To Learn to Postville students this year. The Deerbrook Charitable Trust, a long-time national funder of Vision To Learn with an interest in serving rural areas like those in Iowa, was a crucial partner in helping to bring the program to Postville.
Since the pandemic began, Vision To Learn has experienced an increased need for vision care access, Kroger says. “The increase could be tied to families experiencing new financial hardship or parents recognizing vision concerns during learning at home,” she suggests. During the 2020-2021 school year, Vision To Learn completed more than 1,600 eye exams for Iowan students and provided more than 1,400 pairs of eye glasses to those who needed them.
Children who were prescribed glasses last month in Postville chose frames from a wide selection offered by Vision To Learn. Some students even received two pairs — one for school and another for home. When students forget their glasses at home, the school doesn’t have to call parents to leave work and bring the glasses to the classroom. Instead, students simply visit the school nurse, who safely stores each student’s backup pair of glasses.
During the 2021-22 school year, students attending the Allamakee Community School District in Waukon will have an opportunity to participate in the Vision To Learn program.
To learn about the ways the Allamakee Community Foundation supports local youth and families, visit dbqfoundation.org/ACCF.