PATERSON, NJ  –  More than 3,000 Paterson Public Schools students completed vision screenings earlier this year, with 500 receiving vision exams and 400 being fitted for prescription glasses thanks to a program by Vision to Learn.

“The ability to see is a basic fundamental for students, and we are immensely grateful to the Vision to Learn program for giving the gift of sight to many of our young learners,” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer. “Providing for our students’ needs is a basic part of our mission in Paterson Public Schools. But no district can meet all student needs alone. We are fortunate to have partnerships such as the one we have with Vision To Learn to help make sure students are enabled to realize their potential for academic success.” 

With the help of a $50,000 grant from the Terry and Joe McGrath Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the PSEG Foundation, Vision To Learn’s trained eye care professionals, using a mobile eye clinic, began providing exams to students on September 21st at Public School No. 18.  Since then, exams were provided to students at the Dr. Frank Napier, Jr. School of Technology and Public School No. 28. During the next few months, students at Public Schools No. 5 and 8, and the Senator Frank Lautenberg School will be provided exams.

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“COVID-19 has presented many challenges that have caused us to create an innovative approach to our process of screenings and exams while incorporating new safety protocols and guidelines.  However, our goals and mission remain the same: to provide students with the glasses they need to succeed in school and life,” said Vision To Learn New Jersey Regional Director Giovanni Restrepo. “We are very grateful to the Terry and Joe McGrath Foundation and the PSEG Foundation for their belief in the well-being of children in Paterson and to the Paterson Public Schools for placing student’s vision health as a priority.  Together, we will bring critical vision care services to students in Paterson who would otherwise go without glasses to see, to read, and to learn during these life-changing times.” 

Students who already have eyeglasses are able to get a free second pair or a pair with an updated prescription. Students newly identified as needing eyeglasses receive a free pair.  Glasses are warrantied for a year and if the student breaks them within that time period, they will receive a new pair of eyeglasses.

“The generosity of the Vision To Learn program has had a positive impact on many of our families who otherwise would not have the means to purchase or replace lost glasses,” said Public School No. 18 Principal Deyanira Pagan-Cartagena. “Providing glasses without cost through in-school screenings has eliminated many obstacles to providing them for many students.”

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