Vision to Learn Hits the Road in Jones County

Providing a child with glasses is life-changing. They become more confident, participate more in the classroom and improve in all of their schoolwork.

“The impact is huge. Kids need to see clearly every day — it makes a huge difference with their learning,” says Val Daily, principal of Strawberry Hill Elementary in Anamosa.

In addition to its work supporting area nonprofits and enhancing philanthropy, the Jones County Community Foundation fosters collaboration in order to address challenges within Jones County. That’s why the Community Foundation piloted Vision to Learn in Jones County in 2016, and launched the initiative countywide during the fall of 2018.

“Third grade reading proficiency levels were brought to the board’s attention,” says Sherri Hunt, foundation coordinator. “With the understanding that supporting children is a community initiative and not just a goal for our schools and health care providers, the board chose to support Vision To Learn as a way to help address one of the obstacles a child may face when learning to read. Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, and removing barriers to such opportunities is something we all should be concerned about.”

Thanks to this initiative, over 2,300 students in Anamosa, Midland, Monticello and Olin Consolidated school districts received vision screenings. Students who did not pass the initial screening were given an eye exam by Vision To Learn clinicians, and 148 students across the county were given free eyeglasses to help them succeed in school and life.

Children who were prescribed glasses chose frames from a wide selection offered by Vision To Learn. Some students even received two pairs — one for school and another for home.

“To be able to have that second pair of glasses at school is critical,” says the principal. 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 glasses. 

“It’s been a great boost for Strawberry Hill and an even bigger boost for the district and the entire county. The people behind the scenes who are contributing need to know that they’re making a difference,” Val says.

Jones County Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, which was the first organization to bring Vision To Learn to Iowa. To date, Vision to Learn has served nearly 4,000 students across the state. To support Vision To Learn in Jones County, contact Sherri Hunt, foundation coordinator.

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