Spectacles for Y'town schoolkids clear success

Staff report


A cooperative effort that delivered eyeglasses to Youngstown City Schools students who needed them also resulted in higher attendance, a lower discipline rate and better test performance among those students compared to the average pupil.

Last fall, more than 2,000 elementary students had vision screenings by volunteers from Vallourec, Youngstown State University and others. Children who failed vision screenings were given the opportunity to have a full eye examination. Ageless Eye Care of Chicago transported mobile equipment to each school. Seven optometrists from Sight for All United and Doctors for Sight, along with representatives from Ageless Eye Care, administered full eye exams for 281 students.

Every child who was examined and who needed glasses – 180 of them – selected frames and received one for home and one for school. The students were in kindergarten through seventh grade. Eighty-five students at Youngstown Community School and Youngstown City Schools’s Taft Elementary also benefited from the program earlier this year.

A data analysis shows the students who were given glasses logged an attendance rate higher than the average student, 92.6 percent compared with 90.2 percent. Their discipline rate was also 41 percent lower than the average student. More students who were given eyeglasses also met the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee: 65 percent compared with 57 percent for average students, the school district said.

Those given eyeglasses also scored 17 percent higher on the AIR English Language Arts test and 6 percent higher on the AIR math test.

“I think it’s pretty clear that students perform better in school when they have the glasses they need,” said CEO Krish Mohip. “We’re fortunate in this community to have so many groups, agencies and organizations that are willing to help our children. It really does make a difference.”

Through its Success After 6 effort, United Way began working with the various vision organizations. The collaboration included the Youngstown City School District, the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, the Essilor Vision Foundation, the Sight for All United Foundation, Classic Optical, Ageless Eyecare, the Youngstown City Health Department, Youngstown Lions Club, DentaQuest, Modern Optical International and the Mercy Health Foundation.

Sight for All United is a new nonprofit organization established in fall 2016. Dr. S.A. Erzurum is co-founder and president of Sight for All United and co-founder of Doctors for Sight.

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