[Waterbury, CT] – Waterbury Bridge to Success, Vision to Learn, and Waterbury Public Schools have teamed up to provide vision services to over 170 students at Duggan Elementary School, as part of the BOOST! Community Schools initiative. The vision services provided by Vision to Learn included vision screenings, eye exams, and the provision of glasses, all at no cost to the students. The students received their vision screenings and exams and will receive their glasses on Monday, February 27th, from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM at Duggan Elementary School.
Since 2016, the BOOST! Community Schools initiative, led by Waterbury Bridge to Success, aims to bring together schools and community partners to support the holistic development of students currently in five Waterbury Public Pre-K–8 schools. By providing students with access to essential resources and services, the initiative seeks to address barriers to learning and create a supportive learning environment for all students.
"Our partnership with the Vision to Learn and Waterbury Public Schools through our BOOST! Community Schools initiative underscores the need for collaboration between educators, families, and community partners to support the well-being and academic success of our students," said Althea Marshall Brooks, Executive Director of Waterbury Bridge to Success. "Many children lack access to basic vision care, which can have a significant impact on their ability to learn and succeed in school. We are thankful for Vision to Learn and their commitment to our communities and by providing these services at no cost to families. We hope to remove barriers and BOOST! the lives of children in our community."
According to the American Optometric Association, one in four children has an undetected vision problem that can interfere with learning. Vision To Learn aims to address this issue by making vision services accessible and affordable to all children.
"We are grateful to Vision to Learn for their partnership and commitment to improving the lives of our students," said Waterbury Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Verna D. Ruffin. "We know that vision problems can significantly impact a child's ability to learn, and by providing these services, we can help ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The results of their vision services demonstrate the critical need for accessible vision care in our community, and we hope to continue this partnership to improve the lives of our students."
“We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this partnership that ultimately impacts our students and their ability to learn and succeed in school,” said Duggan Elementary School principal, Melissa DiGiovanni. “This collaboration has touched the lives of so many students here in Waterbury and this is one more way to help boost educational progress.”
The data from the vision screenings and exams conducted by Vision to Learn revealed that a significant number of students required vision care. Out of the total examined, 140 students were prescribed glasses, while 57 were referred to an eye care provider for further assistance. The data also highlights the importance of accessible vision care, particularly in low-income communities. Vision problems can significantly impact a child's ability to learn and succeed in school, and it is crucial to identify and address these issues as early as possible.
"The success of our vision services at Duggan Elementary School highlights the importance of accessible vision care," said Sabrina Davis, Program Manager of Vision to Learn. "Our vision services are designed to eliminate barriers to vision care and support the academic success of students in low-income communities. Through this collaborative effort, we are working towards our shared goal of creating a brighter future for all students."
Vision To Learn has provided vision care to almost 2.2 million children across the United States since its founding in 2012. By partnering with schools and community organizations, the organization aims to eliminate barriers to vision care and improve the lives of children in low-income communities.
About Waterbury Bridge to Success
Since 2010, as the first cradle-to-career initiative in Connecticut, Waterbury Bridge to Success (BTS) Community Partnership has centered racial equity, youth, and families from cradle to career to build capacity, transform power and sustain community. BTS is a cross-sector partnership of over 250 leaders who, like you, are dedicated to leading more inclusive and effective efforts to improve outcomes for youth and families in Waterbury. To learn more about BTS, visit our website at www.waterburybridgetosuccess.org
About Vision To Learn
Vision To Learn, a non-profit charity, was founded in 2012 by Austin Beutner and the Beutner Family Foundation. The program has helped children in over 750 low-income communities in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Vision To Learn serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach children; about 90% of kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and about 85% are Black or Latino. Vision To Learn has provided almost 2.2 million children with vision screenings and more than 345,000 with glasses, in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and has referred more than 50,000 children with more complex vision and medical issues for follow-up care – all at no cost to children or their families. For more information on Vision To Learn, please visit www.visiontolearn.org.
About Waterbury Public Schools
Waterbury Public Schools offer a comprehensive educational program to over 18,600 students in grades Pre-K through 12. This program includes core academics, fine and applied arts, health and fitness, and career pathway offerings as well as special education, an alternative school, and several enrichment programs. Waterbury Public Schools' mission is to inspire and prepare every student to be successful in and beyond school. Learn more at www.waterbury.k12.ct.us.
Media Contact: Akia S. Callum, M.Ed. – Director, People & Culture, Waterbury BTS
Media Contact: Belen Michelis– Director of Communications, Waterbury Public Schools