News 11's Adonis Albright speaks with the organization about why this project is so important
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The United Way of Yuma County, a local non-profit, is providing free vision tests to school-grade children in the community. On Monday, the organization screened nearly 300 students to assess their vision.
“Of those 275 students, 30% failed the screening. So that’s pretty common, the nationwide statistic is actually 1 in 4 children", said Karina Jones, the CEO of United Way of Yuma County.
The non-profit started screening kids' vision about four years ago. Ever since, they've been providing children with free vision screenings, servicing thousands of kids in Yuma County. Up until 2019, according to Jones, school districts didn't require students to have mandatory vision screenings.
"So we saw that as a huge need and decided to step in and start vision screening our local students… and we really feel that once they get screened, and a need is identified that they need glasses, glasses are a tool that we can give a child to hopefully make them more successful in the classroom.”
Using a device called a spot monitor, your vision can be assessed within mere seconds. The machine will tell you whether or not you may need any enhancements to your vision. You're then given a referral you can take to Corona Optique, a local eye care center that partnered with United Way of Yuma County for this undertaking.
If you can't afford a new pair of glasses, all you need is that referral and you can pay a visit to Corona Optique, free of charge.
“We completely cover the cost of the visit, the lenses and the frames so it’s absolutely free to these students and families", said Jones.
The project was originally only for students in Yuma School District One at the high school level, as well as the Gadsden School District. But the United Way of Yuma County has now expanded beyond that. There is no age requirement for students, and this also extends to special education students.
"We've really expanded it to any school that has a need, or any organization, any preschool that has children and that you think they would benefit from vision screening, we are more than happy to come and vision screen your students."