According to the Essilor Vision Foundation’s Kids Vision for Life Program, 25 percent of children in the United States have vision problems significant enough to affect learning. However, 90 percent of children who need glasses do not have them.
During the 2015-16 school year, the Rales Health Center screened KIPP students in the third, fifth, and sixth grades for vision problems. Students in kindergarten, first, and eight grades were screened by the Baltimore City Health Department. All together, 1,000 KIPP students were screened.
The screening program identified many students with vision issues requiring follow-up with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. To meet this need, and decrease barriers to learning for KIPP students, the Kids’ Vision First program was developed. Kids’ Vision First is a collaborative effort of The Maryland Optometric Association (MOA),The Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF), KIPP Baltimore, and The Rales Center.
The inaugural Kids’ Vision First event took place on May 16-17, 2016 at KIPP Baltimore. One hundred and twenty-one students had the opportunity to see a volunteer Maryland Optometric Association optometrist. The optometrists identified 100 students who required classes. Each of these children received two pairs of glasses, at no cost. One pair of glasses will be kept at home and one at school, helping to keep students in class and ready to learn.
The Rales Center is extremely grateful to our partners at The Maryland Optometric Association, The Essilor VisionFoundation, and KIPP Baltimore. Thank you for your tireless efforts and dedication to addressing barriers to KIPPsters’ learning!