Pistons charity partnership provides Flint students with free glasses, eye exams

Published: May. 31, 2018 at 6:50 PM EDT
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(05/31/18) - Vision can make all the difference for a child trying to learn in school, and thanks to a partnership that's landed in Flint for the first time, an estimated 1,000 students will potentially receive the help they need.

Detroit Pistons' owner Tom Gores' FlintNOW Foundation has teamed up with Vision to Learn to provide free eye glasses and exams to students in Flint. They launched the program at Brownell STEM Academy.

"So I picked these and they make me look cute," said kindergarten student Arianna Walker.

New glasses and a lot of confidence for Arianna. The soon-to-be first grader is one of 49 students to receive an eye exam and a pair of glasses as part of FlintNOW and Vision to Learn's newly expanded partnership. After a couple of successful years in Detroit, it's making a mark in Flint Community Schools.

"A project that is going to extend into the new school year. We'll be bringing our service to every student kindergarten thru 12th grade in Flint Community Schools who needs an eye exam and glasses totally free of charge," said Damian Carroll, Vision to Learn national director.

Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper showed a lot of love and helped the children celebrate their new glasses.

"I love math and it helps me see more," said 6th grader Denise Morris.

"I love them. I really do. It helps me reading a lot," said 3rd grader Deavion Clark.

"They help me see better, help me to read," Arianna said.

According to Vision To Learn, two million kids across the country don't have the glasses they need to help them succeed. They say an estimated 1,000 Flint Community School kids go to class each day without the glasses they need.

Pistons Vice President Kevin Grigg says it's just one of several ways FlintNOW is trying to help.

"Mr. Gores started the foundation to provide private sector and immediate relief during the water crisis and also to create longterm programs that impact economic development, health care and nutrition for residents of the city," Grigg said.

Parents should look for consent forms beginning this school year. The Vision to Learn mobile unit will pay each school a visit and perform screenings. Parents can also decline the service if they want.

"Gores grew up here. He wants to continue to make a difference in this community," Grigg said.

"I really appreciate him for doing that. I really do," Deavion said.

"Thank you Mr. Gores," Dae'jah said.