Clippers announce initiative to deliver free eye exams, glasses to every LAUSD student
Tuesday represented a step towards a clearer vision for the future of Los Angeles…literally.
At a press conference held at Lovelia P. Flournoy Elementary School in South Los Angeles on Tuesday, the L.A. Clippers Foundation, in partnership with non-profit organization Vision to Learn and the Los Angeles Unified School District, announced that every student in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will be provided with free eye exams, and students in need will receive free glasses.
The initiative will benefit more than 600,000 students in the greater Los Angeles community.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Clippers forward Blake Griffin were both on hand to deliver the announcement, as well as Clippers President Gillian Zucker, Vision to Learn Founder and Chairman Austin Beutner, LAUSD Acting Superintendent Vivian Ekchian and LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia.
This is the third consecutive year that the L.A. Clippers Foundation has partnered with Vision to Learn to provide free eye exams and glasses to children in low-income communities. In 2015, the two partnered to launch the initiative in Inglewood, which reached 12,000 students. The next year, they launched the initiative in Long Beach, reaching 80,000 students.
Statistics show that 1-in-5 kids naturally need glasses, and 95 percent of incoming first graders who need glasses do not have them, mainly due to the inability of low-income families to access affordable vision care. In addition, 80 percent of all learning is visual for children during their first 12 years.
At Tuesday’s press conference, emceed by ESPN’s Neil Everett, several guest speakers addressed those in attendance before Ballmer ignited the crowd of parents, students and educators, using his trademark enthusiasm. Griffin followed Ballmer at the podium and introduced Inglewood sixth grader Nasir Lucas, who spoke passionately about the support he received from Griffin, the Clippers and Vision to Learn.
Griffin then once again took the podium to present a video telling the story of local children who have struggled with their vision, including fifth grader Miranda Morales, who shared her heartbreaking story on camera.
Griffin then hand-delivered new glasses to 23 students on-hand and Morales was first to receive her new glasses.
Eye exams are beginning in all LAUSD schools now, starting with Flournoy Elementary. The exams will feature Clippers and Blake Griffin-branded mobile clinics and future interactions between the Clippers and the program will include in-arena visits and follow-up school visits with Ballmer, Griffin, and other Clippers personalities.