During the month of November, more than 400 Cherry Creek Schools students received free eye exams. About 90 percent of those students need glasses and will receive them at no charge. That, in turn, will help the students in school, since vision problems are significant sensory barriers to learning. In fact, 80 percent of learning in a child’s first 12 years comes through his or her eyes.
The free vision screenings and glasses are the result of a powerful partnership between the Cherry Creek School District’s Insurance Outreach liaisons and the Essilor Vision Foundation. Based in Dallas, Texas, the Essilor Vision Foundation has provided 66,016 free vision exams and 26,168 free pairs of glasses to students across the country. The foundation’s goal is to “eliminate poor vision and its lifelong consequences.”
Earlier this year, Insurance Outreach liaisons Myriana Rodriguez and Veronica Reynoso began working with the Essilor Vision Foundation on a vision screening program for the district’s 10 Title I schools, where more than 40 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
“This is awesome – we are giving children the gift of sight,” said Essilor’s Melissa Mason. “A lot of kids struggle in school because of vision problems and that’s why this is so rewarding.”
CCSD nurses and health technicians did initial vision screenings on all students, then referral letters and consent forms were sent home with students who qualified for additional testing. The Essilor Vision Foundation provided the equipment for the screenings and recruited local optometrists and opticians who volunteered their time to conduct the eye exams and help students select frames for their new glasses.
“You meet a lot of really good people and it feels good to give back,” said Maxine Brady, an optician from Hellerstein & Brenner Vision Center in Greenwood Village. Brady volunteered for the vision screenings at Ponderosa Elementary on Nov. 21.
The vision screenings are just one way the CCSD Insurance Outreach liaisons help students and families. They also assist families with the application process for Medicaid and CHP+, and the Outreach Voucher program includes dental, vision and medical resources for families who do not meet the residency requirements for state-sponsored health insurance.
“The Insurance Outreach liaisons are an essential component of Health Services and work tirelessly to connect students and their families to health care,” said Suzanne Oro, CCSD Director of Health Services. “Students achieve higher levels of academic and lifelong success when health exists.”
The Insurance Outreach Program is yet another example of the Cherry Creek School District’s commitment to the health and academic success of students. For more information, please contact the Insurance Outreach office at 720-554-5065 or 720-554-5063, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.