Vision To Learn Mobile Clinic Makes Stop in Clinton
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and nonprofit Vision To Learn partnered to provide modified vision screenings to students and provide students with glasses free of charge in Clinton
This pilot program was made possible through partnerships with Theisen’s Home*Farm*Auto, Klauer Optical Co., Vision To Learn, and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.
CLINTON—On April 13, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (CFGD) and the nonprofit Vision To Learn provided free modified vision screenings to 18 students at Bluff Elementary thanks to a program aimed at improving kids’ vision. The program provides free glasses to help students succeed in school.
The program is made possible through partnerships with Theisen’s Home*Farm*Auto, Klauer Optical Co., Vision To Learn, and CFGD. Efforts in Jackson County are also supported by local donors Steve and Elaine Kahler.
In addition to Clinton, the mobile clinic will travel to area schools throughout the school year in Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties, where it has the potential to serve more than 700 kids in need of vision care in Northeast Iowa. During the summer months it will make stops at summer programs and local organizations serving children. Students are identified for modified vision screenings on the mobile clinic based on school screenings, and those requiring a prescription will each receive two free pairs of glasses—one to keep at school and one to take home.
“Being a part of Vision To Learn provides kids the opportunity to see and therefore succeed. Theisen’s Home*Farm*Auto is proud to help sponsor this expanding program,” said Jim Theisen, president of Theisen’s Home*Farm*Auto.
The partnership with Klauer Optical Co. will allow the glasses given to students to be sourced locally. Students will receive their new glasses faster and repairs can be done more quickly, reducing the time that children must be without their much-needed glasses.
“Klauer has been working with the Dubuque Community School District for the past 10 years to help supply eyeglasses for children who need them, but can’t afford them or access them. The difference we have seen this make in the student’s school performance and overall well-being has been tremendously positive,” said Jeff Klauer. “I was very pleased to participate in the Vision To Learn pilot program last year, and look forward to taking an active role in the upcoming year in helping children in our community who need eye care.”
CFGD brought Vision To Learn to Iowa through its Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which works to help more children read at grade level by the end of third grade. Research by the University of California Los Angeles Mattel Children’s Hospital shows that Vision To Learn has a direct impact on education outcomes for children supported by the program and improves the learning environment for the entire classroom and school.
Corrine Kroger, Iowa Regional Director for Vision To Learn, was on site for many of the screenings. “I witnessed many children trying on glasses for the first time and was struck by the realization that these glasses are going to make a huge difference for these kids. While it seems like a small change, it’s really going to impact their academic success for years to come.”
“Our goal is to help more children read at grade level by the end of third grade,” said Nancy Van Milligen, CFGD president and CEO. “A child’s health, including the ability to see the whiteboard or words in a book, can have a major impact on his or her ability to read and learn. We are excited to bring Vision To Learn to Iowa.”
Vision To Learn Founder and Chairman Austin Beutner added, “Vision To Learn helps provide every child with the chance to succeed in school and in life.”
As many as 20,000 students in Iowa lack the glasses they need to see the board, read a book and participate in class. Due to lack of health insurance, difficulty accessing eye care providers and other obstacles, many students who are identified in state-mandated school vision screenings do not receive the follow-up care or glasses they need.
Since 2012, the nonprofit Vision To Learn has addressed this problem by giving children access to vision care through Vision To Learn vision vans, mobile clinics that travels to school sites. Students receive a modified vision screening with full autorefraction from an optometrist and, if glasses are prescribed, can choose their frames from a wide selection of colors and sizes.
To learn more about CFGD and its initiatives, visit www.dbqfoundation.org.