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Head Start vision screening a huge success

By Lynn Peters, Community Engagement Manager

Ever wonder what happens after a grant ends? As part of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership within the Community Foundation, we follow up two years after each grant to find out what’s happened.

A three-year, $15,750 grant in 2015 to Prevent Blindness Wisconsin  supported preschool vision screening for low-income children attending eight Head Start sites in Calumet, Outagamie, and northern Winnebago counties.

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Community Foundation, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc., and other community partners. Since the program started, additional funding has come from Jeweler’s Mutual Charitable Giving Fund within the Community Foundation.

Lynn Peters, Community Engagement Manager

Why is screening important?

More than 80 percent of most children’s learning happens visually, and untreated vision problems can negatively affect a child’s early learning.

The program tested 1,796 children between ages 3-5. Seven tested positive for amblyopia, a serious eye condition in children commonly called “lazy eye.” Thankfully it is a correctable condition, and these children were able to get immediate treatment.

Prevent Blindness Wisconsin learned how to work effectively with Head Start programs, and how to meet the special followup needs of lower income populations, including connecting them with doctors and seeing to their transportation needs.

Two Years Later…

The program continues! Children at the Head Start sites continue to receive certified vision screenings within 45 days of their enrollment.

During the grant period, Head Start collaborators requested education about developmental vision milestones in a child’s first year.  Prevent Blindness developed and delivered a program called Vision Milestones. They now offer that program statewide!

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