Vision is a crucial component of learning – 80% of a child’s learning before the age of 12 is visual. But for students who cannot access the vision care they need, a lack of corrective eyewear may result in critical learning loss during a student’s most formative years. Unfortunately, in a community like Trenton, where many students come from a low-income background, barriers to accessing care are unfortunate for many families. However, children are given the resources they need to thrive through programs like the Henry J. Austin Health Center’s (HJAHC) Vision To Learn program. And thanks to the support of partners like the Credit Union of New Jersey, HJAHC will be able to provide these services for years to come.
Henry J. Austin Health Center (HJAHC) recently announced that it had received a generous philanthropic gift of $75,000 (paid over three years) from the Credit Union of New Jersey (CUNJ). This generous donation will support HJAHC’s partnership with Vision To Learn (VTL) to provide free eye screenings, exams, and prescription glasses to children from the Trenton School District.
“We are proud to make this multi-year donation to the Henry J. Austin Health Center to support A Vision for Trenton Youth campaign, a partnership with Vision To Learn, to provide all free vision screenings, exams, and prescription eyeglasses for Trenton Public School students in need. At Credit Union of New Jersey, we believe in giving back to the community and supporting organizations that positively impact people’s lives. We are inspired by the dedication and compassion of the teams at Henry J. Austin Health Center and Vision to Learn and are honored to contribute to their missions. By working together, we can help improve the health and well-being of the Trenton community,” said Andrew L. Jaeger, President and CEO of the Credit Union of New Jersey.
The Vision To Learn program is helping to address a critical need in the Trenton Community. Without the proper vision care, students may experience several side effects, including headaches, difficulty focusing in class, and falling behind in reading. The consequences of this cannot be overstated: students with uncorrected vision problems are more likely to fail at least one grade and can fall behind in reading at grade level by third grade, a critical milestone in preventing dropout.
HJAHC and VTL share the value of breaking down barriers to access to essential health care by bringing services directly to schools and students in need. Over 60% of HJAHC patients fall below the poverty line and are often uninsured. The center provides patient-centered integrated health services to those who need it most in the Mercer County community.
With the help of CUNJ’s philanthropic gift, HJAHC will be able to provide vision screenings to 448 children and enable 179 students to receive comprehensive vision exams and prescription glasses, most of whom would not otherwise have access and whose vision needs would go untreated. The health center started the eye screenings and exams this past February and will continue to raise funds until all children in the Trenton Public Schools are covered.
“We are grateful to receive this philanthropic support from the Credit Union of New Jersey. Thanks to their gift, we will provide Trenton students with vision screenings, exams, and prescription glasses. Partnerships like this continue to help underserved communities in Trenton by breaking down barriers to healthcare.” Kemi Alli, MD, Chief Executive Officer of HJAHC.
If you’d like to learn more, please visit www.henryjaustin.org/vision-for-Trenton-youth/ for more information about the VTL program at HJAHC.