Since day one, alleviating the problem of impaired vision has been at the heart of not just our Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program but it’s at the heart of everything we do here. (Did you know 2.5 billion people around the world need glasses but don’t have access to them? Of these, 624 million cannot effectively learn or work due to the severity of their visual impairment.) Now we’ve gotten together with DonorsChoose.org and National Eye Care to tackle the issue in our very own (metaphorical) backyard of New York City.
What is DonorsChoose.org? Glad you asked. (You may recall our collaboration from a few years back.) It’s a nonprofit crowdfunding platform for teachers that connects citizen donors to classrooms in need of resources, and their dedication to improving the lives of students is pretty amazing.
Over the past year, we’ve been working to bring eye care access and eyeglasses to New York City public school students in need. While conducting vision exams and glasses fittings at local schools, we realized that teachers are often the first to discover when a child needs glasses. (Insights like this often happen spur-of-the-moment, in the field. There are some things you can’t predict from behind a desk!)
Following in the model pioneered by DonorsChoose.org, teachers can now post requests for an optometrist from the National Eye Care network to visit their classroom and administer eye exams. To help things along, we’re matching every dollar raised and donating glasses to any student who needs them. Through a trunk show-inspired setup, students can choose a new pair of glasses that they love and get comfortable with what—for many—will be their very first frame.
This is a really exciting project. Even better: you can help! These classrooms are looking to help kids get glasses. Now wouldn’t that make a nice present? For them and for you.
At the moment we’re focused on high-poverty middle schools throughout New York City. (We’re just getting started—and hope to reach other cities soon.) If you’re a middle school teacher in NYC who would be interested in this, or if you know one, visit DonorsChoose.org to get started, and let them know if you have any questions.