Students seeing clearly with Community Foundation support

Nearly 200 students in Anamosa, Midland, Monticello and Olin received glasses in 2021 at no cost to schools or families thanks to Vision To Learn, an initiative supported by the Jones County Community Foundation.

Providing a child with glasses is life-changing. Without glasses, students with vision challenges can struggle in the classroom. Yet many families face barriers to vision care, including affordability and access. That’s where Vision To Learn comes in. A mobile clinic visits schools across Iowa providing free exams and glasses. Vision To Learn research shows that once students receive glasses, they become more confident, participate more in the classroom, and improve in their schoolwork.

After Jones County students received vision screenings, Vision To Learn clinicians provided free eye exams to 230 children who needed them. They also prescribed glasses, and students chose from a wide selection of frames 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, they visit the school nurse, who safely stores each student’s backup glasses. This saves a call to parents, preventing them from having to leave work and deliver the glasses from home to the classroom. 

The Community Foundation brought Vision To Learn to Olin and Midland in the spring, and 73 students received prescriptions. After visits to Anamosa and Monticello school districts this fall, 138 students received glasses.

Vision To Learn is one of the many ways the Foundation supports youth. Other initiatives include Every Child Reads, which builds on the efforts of Vision To Learn by supporting academic success and child well-being. The Foundation also awards annual grants to schools and youth programs. 

“Kids are our future. We have to invest in them early on,” says Doug Edel, Community Foundation executive director. 

To support Vision To Learn or other youth-focused initiatives, contact Edel at or 319-481-9182.