Vision To Learn provides Monticello children with glasses


Thanks to Vision To Learn – Iowa, 52 students in Monticello received glasses during the 2023- '24 school year at no cost to schools or families. Vision To Learn, a national nonprofit, launched operations in Iowa in 2016 and is supported by the Jones County Community Foundation and its family of funds. Additional support comes from Cammie Greif, Focusing Philanthropy, Delta Dental of Iowa and Theisen’s Home*Farm*Auto. 

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, such as affordability or transportation to a provider. That’s where Vision To Learn comes in. A mobile clinic visits schools across Iowa providing eye exams and glasses to students at no cost. Vision To Learn research shows that once students receive glasses, they become more confident, participate more in the classroom and improve in their schoolwork.

Over the eight years Vision To Learn has been providing services in Jones County, 6,000 children have received a vision screening, 682 have received eye exams and 610 have received glasses.

During the 2023-24 school year, the mobile clinic visited students at Sacred Heart, Carpenter and Shannon elementary schools. Over 360 students received vision screenings. Vision To Learn clinicians provided eye exams to 61 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 helps to ensure that students have their glasses during school time while also saving a call to parents, preventing them from having to leave work and deliver the glasses from home to the classroom. 

Vision To Learn is one of the many ways the Community Foundation connects donors with opportunities to support younger generations and build thriving communities for the future. Other initiatives include Every Child Reads, which complements Vision To Learn by supporting academic success and child well-being. The Foundation also awards annual grants to schools and youth programs. 

“The Foundation understands that investing in Jones County youth is key to a strong future for our communities,” says Sheila Tjaden of Monticello, who supports the local foundation board in her role as director of affiliate foundations at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. “Local youth also have support from Monticello resident Cammie Greif, who provided funding this year to help bring this program to our children.” 

“One in four school-aged children have an undiagnosed vision problem that if left untreated, can impact not only their learning, but their overall health and well-being. We are grateful for the Foundation’s continued partnership, helping to ensure that students who need glasses have them,” says Corrine Kroger, Iowa Regional Director/National Director of Operations with Vision To Learn. Matching dollars from Focusing Philanthropy are currently available to support Vision To Learn in your community – contact Kroger to learn more.

The Jones County Community Foundation offers many opportunities to improve quality of life by addressing an array of local issues. To learn more about how you can establish a fund or make a gift that impacts your community, contact Edel at 319-481-9182.