For a growing child, vision is essential. The ability to perceive their surroundings is a fundamental stepping stone in navigating the world around them. However, hundreds of children across the country, are unable to access the vision care they need. For families facing financial hardship, the cost of glasses and other services can be overwhelming. Thankfully, the Henry J. Austin Health Center has announced its collaboration with Vision to Learn to help address this need in the Trenton community.

The “A Vision for Trenton Youth” initiative will provide free vision screenings, exams, and prescription eyeglasses to all Trenton Public School students in need. Per Denise Kreiss, Parent Coordinator and Homeless Liaison for the Trenton Public Schools, “Students that attend Trenton Public Schools are faced daily with barriers to learning due to affordability of basic needs and other environmental factors. Vision should never be an obstacle to student learning, which sadly enough occurs too often. Many of our students cannot afford to pay for a comprehensive vision screening or better yet have enough money to purchase prescription glasses.”   

Without proper access to corrective vision care, the fundamentals of a child’s education lay in the balance. Children who struggle with their vision are more likely to fail at least one test and can fall a grade level behind in reading by 3rd grade. Children who do fall behind these important milestones are at an increased risk of dropout. Early learning success is critical for the years of learning ahead, so children must have every advantage in the beginning years of their education.

To raise awareness for this life-changing initiative, Henry J. Austin Health Center has partnered with Trenton Public Schools, Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County, and the Princeton Art Museum to curate pop-up galleries and fundraising events to support the cause. Through the partnership, Trenton youth are encouraged to create artwork for the campaign that highlights their visions for their future. In doing so, Trenton children are given a platform to uplift their voices and promote engagement throughout the community.

Henry J. Austin Health Center offers this initiative as a part of their essential work in Trenton. Through the center’s efforts, community members can access primary care, behavioral health care, testing, pharmacy services, and more. Built off the values of integrity, qualify, cultural sensitivity, and respect, the Center is indispensable in keeping our community happy and healthy.

The program is set to kick off this upcoming January, and in the meantime, the Henry J. Austin Health Center will continue to fundraise to support this incredible cause. Through this partnership, the Center will be able to provide over 12,000 Trenton children with these life-changing services. Any questions regarding the program may be directed to the Henry J. Austin Health Center at (609) 278-5900 or info@henryjaustin.org. If you wish to support the Center and the amazing work they do, additional details regarding how you can help are available here: Development and Communications – HJAHC.