Healthy Readers

Raising Healthy Readers

We know that learning begins at birth, and that healthy development greatly impacts children’s ability to learn: Children who are on track in their physical, social and emotional, cognitive, and verbal development are more successful learners from their earliest years, and they are more likely to become proficient readers. At every age and stage of development, children from low-income families often receive less, and lower-quality, health care and services. As a result, they experience poor health at higher rates than children from higher income families.

Vision To Learn

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In 2016, the Community Foundation partnered with nonprofit Vision To Learn to pilot a mobile vision clinic aimed at improving kids’ vision to help them succeed in school. The pilot program included eight Title I schools — five in Dubuque and three in Jackson County. Fall school vision screenings identified students who needed an exam, leading to nearly 180 students receiving vision exams on the mobile clinic. Of those, 91 received prescriptions for glasses and 18 were referred on for further vision care. Each student who received a prescription was given two free pairs of glasses — one to keep at school and one to keep at home.

In 2017, the program expanded to serve 43 schools in Northeast Iowa where it connected 540 students to two free pairs of glasses. The program is made possible by support from Vision To Learn, Theisen’s Home*Farm*Auto, Klauer Optical, the Community Foundations of Greater Dubuque and Jackson County, and Steve and Elaine Kahler.

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