Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Tommy Chang today joined students at the Washington Irving Middle School in Roslindale to celebrate the launch of a new vision-screening program that provides free eyeglasses to any student who needs them.
The program, Envision Boston Giving, was created by Dr. Tricia Rose, an optometrist and founder of the Boston-based practice, Envision Boston Optometry, will partner with Mayor Walsh's Education Task Force and BPS to provide screening clinics to students at three Boston Public Schools over the next year.
"Boston is a thriving city because so many of our business leaders are committed to giving back to our community and are deeply invested in the health and futures of our children," said Mayor Walsh. "Partnerships such as Envision Boston enrich the lives of our students and support our schools in their mission to ensure all of our city's children can succeed."
Since she began screenings at the Irving Middle School last month, Dr. Rose has already screened 46 students, of whom 40 exhibited a need for corrective eye wear. More screenings were conducted at the school today and will continue until the end of the school year. Starting next year, Dr. Rose will expand her screenings to two additional schools: the Mattapan early elementary school, at the site of the Mattahunt Elementary School, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8 School in Dorchester. All of the schools were selected by BPS leadership, and the total enrollment of students at the three schools exceeds 1,000 students.
"Removing barriers to learning is vital in helping unlock a student's full potential and closing opportunity and achievement gaps," said Superintendent Chang. "Programs like these that give our children the opportunity to see better and clearer allows them to be more engaged in the classroom and greatly improves the quality of their lives."
Envision Boston Giving has provided all 40 of the Irving students with impaired vision new glasses.
"I created Envision Boston Giving because I knew there would be a need, but until I started my work in this school, I didn't realize how many students this program would be able to help. So far, 4 out of 5 students whom we've screened need glasses," said Dr. Rose. "Good vision is the gateway to learning. Children with undiagnosed vision challenges are at a disadvantage in a school setting, so it has been very rewarding to be able to provide this service and gift these glasses to these students, and a new outlook on life."
According to research, about 80 percent of all learning during a child's first 12 years comes through visual tasks such as reading, writing and using computers. Studies find that undetected and untreated vision problems can interfere with a child's ability to read and perform to his or her fullest potential.
Vision problems, such as uncorrected hyperopia or an astigmatism, can impact a child's reading performance and cause poor eye-hand coordination needed in everyday tasks. Providing glasses to correct these conditions can have a profound effect on a child's life, and improve their social-emotional well being.
About Envision Boston
Envision Boston Giving is a 100% philanthropy program and has been funded by Envision Boston Optometry and personal contributions. Dr. Rose is donating her time and gifting the glasses. She will stay in touch with the students for whom she's provided eyewear to track their progress and vision. Dr. Rose also is committed to repairing and replacing glasses when necessary. Additional information about the program is available online