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Vision to Learn

January 28, 2019
Audience
Children / Family
Community Members
Popular Topics
Community Engagement
Budget
Free
Advance Planning

Library officials were introduced to VTL by the Learn4Life Metro Atlanta Regional Educational Partnership, which is addressing vision with the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation.

Our chief goal for this program is connecting as many children in need of vision care and glasses as possible to VTL appointments. VTL can serve about 25 children in a six-hour period. Still, the waiting lists exceed the number of available slots. 

Another goal is using the VTL visits to elevate vision as a literacy issue for families, educators and community leaders.

Staffing and volunteer support will need to be planned in advance. Our library arranged for one or two people to assist in two- or three-hour shifts. 

Marketing

Our initial marketing efforts included listing the VTL events on the library system’s calendar and posting fliers at library locations soon after the schedule was confirmed.

The promotional strategy also included e-mails sent to public school leaders in Cobb. The e-mails listed the VTL events and cited Cobb County Public Library's involvement with the Learn4Life regional collaborative.

Cobb County government officials included announcements in e-newsletters, and the county communications department posted a video on a VTL visit. We also sent the information to a Cobb school social worker, who shared it with many Cobb educators. 

Media outreach resulted in a front-page article and photographs in the Marietta Daily Journal.

With many in the community now aware of VTL, marketing and media release submissions appear to be welcomed by area media outlets, schools and others.

Budget Details

The summertime 2018 VTL events at Cobb libraries were staged like regular library events without a special budget except for limited flier printing costs.

Day-of-event Activity

The VTL mobile clinic is staged in the library parking lot. An extension cord for electrical service is provided by the library. 

At least one library staff member or volunteer assists in signing in the parents or caregivers with the children and accompanying them from the library to the clinic vehicle.

Program Execution

The seven summertime VTL visits at Cobb libraries resulted in 154 eye exams and 119 free eyeglasses and prescriptions. A similar level of results is anticipated for our upcoming spring break and early summer break programs. It is anticipated the total of children receiving free VTL glasses at Cobb libraries will reach 300 by mid-2019.

Feedback is very positive from Cobb families, education officials and community leaders.

A future scenario may involve a celebratory VTL glasses-dispensing event that would include refreshments, signage, balloons and more, like similar events staged at elementary schools across the United States where VTL is based. 

Advice

Vision as a surmountable community challenge. Vision events are opportunities for libraries to elevate eyecare as a critical education and literacy issue, partnering with local school districts. I recommend exploring the collective impact approach of the national nonprofit StriveTogether.

Also check out a Johns Hopkins University research study on Vision for Baltimore, a community learning initiative involving Vision to Learn, and a UCLA study of Vision to Learn

It's helpful to find collaborators. The¬†Learn4Life Metro Atlanta Regional Education Partnership¬†is¬†a ‚Äúcradle-to-career‚ÄĚ collaborative of schools, nonprofits and businesses led by an executive committee of officials of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Atlanta Regional Commission.¬†Moving forward, we will be talking with Learn4Life leaders about strategies for data collection and other ways to improve the partnership. Other collaborators include the¬†Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation¬†and¬†the¬†Lions Clubs.¬†

Short Title
Vision to Learn

In Cobb County, officials say about 20 percent of the 50,000 elementary school children alone would fail a vision screening, and about 8,000 will need glasses.

‚ÄčCobb libraries collaborate with the Atlanta office of the national nonprofit¬†Vision to Learn¬†(VTL) to host vision clinics for low-income communities. VTL provides on-site mobile vision clinics for children. The visits include free vision screenings and eye exams. Kids who get eyeglass prescriptions select free frames, and their new glasses are later delivered.

The VTL events at Cobb libraries were the first at a Georgia public library since the program launched in the state in 2017.

Job Functions
Resources and Program Starters
Collaborations
Program Date
May 31, 2018
  • Cobb County librarians, from left, Jo Lahmon, Roxanne Magaw, and Stacy Hill with a group of free eyeglasses provided by the national non-profit Vision To Learn ready for schoolchildren.
    Cobb County librarians, from left, Jo Lahmon, Roxanne Magaw, and Stacy Hill with a group of free eyeglasses provided by the national non-profit Vision To Learn ready for schoolchildren.
Summary

A Georgia public library worked with Vision to Learn to host vision clinics for low-income communities.