On August 1st and September 5th, 2013, the Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles hosted wonderful visitors who arrived on the colorful buses of a local nonprofit, Vision to Learn. The representatives of this growing organization came to provide free eye exams to 85 teen residents of Phoenix House Academy. Vision to Learn operates a mobile eye clinic offering free eye exams and glasses to students in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles County. The organization helps improve children’s eyesight and by doing so, helps enhance their learning ability and academic performance.
Phoenix House Academy’s students are older than typical clients of Vision to Learn, as the mission of this effective organization is to provide glasses to young children. Many Phoenix House Academy residents come from low-income homes and cannot afford vision insurance and eye care. With Vision to Learn, after a free eye exam, students are fitted for glasses and are able to select the style of lenses they would like. Two weeks later, free glasses are distributed to the students.
Kelly Ruotolo, nursing supervisor at Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles, helped lead and coordinate this successful event. She said, “Vision to Learn has made a positive impact on everyone including clients, staff, and family members. Parents who cannot afford eyeglasses for their loved ones feel content in learning about Vision to Learn, and what they are doing for our students. Our students are exceptionally happy with their lenses. Having new glasses improves their vision and raises their self-esteem.”
All students participating in this project had an enjoyable time posing in front of the mirror, while choosing from a variety of glass frames. A new pair of glasses is an essential medical device; it is also a fashionable accessory that can change the way a person feels about themselves. We are happy that the charitable activity of Vision to Learn benefitted so many of our students.
The benefit of getting new glasses does not end with individual students. Phoenix House Academy teachers were also very pleased. They know that vision impairment in the classroom adds to the everyday challenge they face in educating and encouraging at-risk teens. Now that our clients are receiving free eyeglasses, there is more opportunity for learning.
The effectiveness of Vision to Learn stems from its focus on offering an essential service. This organization would not have been able to succeed without the support of many community partners. Vision to Learn has recently secured the support of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. During their second visit to our campus, the mobile eye clinic arrived with two vehicles: the Vision to Learn Bus and a brand new Dodgers van. It was a pleasant surprise for the clients receiving a free pair of lenses to walk into a van sponsored by one of their favorite baseball teams.
Providing our clients with these essential resources helps motivate them to succeed academically and commit to a life of recovery. Vision to Learn will be offering their services to Phoenix House on an ongoing basis. “This partnership further illustrates the critical role that community-based organizations play in helping our youth on their path to success,” said Pouria Abbassi, P.E., Senior VP and Regional Director of Phoenix House.
For more information about our substance abuse and mental health treatment programs, or to refer someone in need for admission to our residential or outpatient services for teens with co-occurring disorders at the Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles, please call our Call Center at 1 888 671 9392. We are here to help you find the information and services you need!