Dear business community, ever wonder how you can help Milwaukee’s kids do better in school? Here’s a story for you.
According to the folks at Wisconsin Vision, which conducted school vision screenings recently with volunteers from Prevent Blindness Wisconsin, at least one out of every four MPS students tested had a vision problem. That number is in line with national statistics, according to Darren Horndasch, president and CEO of Wisconsin Vision.
“Numerous studies show the poorer the school population, the more children need glasses,” said Horndasch. “According to the Journal of School Health, children living in low income urban environments have twice the normal rate of vision problems.”
More than 500 students at Clarke Street and Gwen T. Jackson Early Childhood and Elementary Schools were recently tested.
This week, Wisconsin Vision and Prevent Blindness are stepping up to give about 100 kids free follow-up care and glasses. Wisconsin Vision is donating lenses, frames and fabrications valued at more than $200 per pair. That’s what I call supporting your public schools and Milwaukee’s young people.
When testing was done at Clarke Street in April, 45 kids got free glasses, including eight that were found to be legally blind without the glasses.
The program has since expanded to Gwen T. Jackson, which recently lost its nurse to budget cuts.
“Fewer school nurses makes the most important work of follow-up post screening very difficult,” said Dr. M. Kathleen Murphy, MPS’ health services coordinator.
“Unfortunately, if there is not a school nurse in the building, typically vision screenings do not occur at the school,” adds Barbara Armstrong, executive director Prevent Blindness.
“Left undetected and uncorrected, vision problems can interfere with reading and other visual skills critical to academic success as 80 percent of a child’s learning is related to sight. Children need healthy vision to be successful in school.”
Wisconsin Vision will return to the Clarke Street and Gwen T. Jackson schools on Tuesday and Wednesday to do the follow-up visual acuity exams and to make the eyeglasses – including Disney and Power Rangers specs – on site.