Representative: Queen Smalls
Vision to Learn provides free vision services and glasses to children in low-income communities. By partnering with local community organizations, such as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mecklenburg County Health, The Boys and Girls Club, and Freedom School Partners, Vision to Learn helps to eliminate barriers to vision care. Vision to Learn has provided over 25,000 vision screenings, 7,500 eye exams, and 6,000 pairs of glasses since 2018.
How did your organization get its start?
Vision to Learn (VTL) was established in 2012 in Los Angeles, California. VTL’s founder, Austin Beutner’s passion provoked the building blocks of an infectious organization charged to help every low-income child in America receive the vision to learn and succeed. Austin brought his idea to friends in Charlotte, Hugh and Renee McColl, and they rallied support to start the Charlotte program and provide free eye screenings, exams, and glasses to low-income children in Mecklenburg County.
Where does your passion for the cause come from?
My passion comes from growing up in NYC and seeing how hope and opportunity can put you steps ahead of someone with limited opportunities and resources. My life’s mission has been to help even the playing field for the youth to give them greater opportunities to succeed.
Why is your work important?
My work is important because it gives hope and changes lives. Vision to Learns’ model is simple and the impact is immediate. It only takes a simple act of giving a child free glasses to ignite change and I’m glad to be a part of this communal transformation.
What excites you most about the SEED20 process?
I am excited for people to learn about the work that we do at Vision to Learn and share how much transformation is taking place in the lives of the children and families that receive our services. I am also excited about the opportunity to gain more financial support to add to the program’s sustainability.
What do you hope to gain from the SEED20 experience?
I hope to increase VTL’s program visibility so that more kids can be helped. More than anything, I hope to expand sustainability through additional funding streams. My heart belongs to these children and I want the world to see the good that Vision to Learn is doing for them so that we can keep doing it.
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