Cobb County Libraries provide vital back to school vision care for children in need

·2 min read

Aug. 11—The summer of 2022 is the largest ever for the partnership of Cobb County Public Library and national non-profit Vision To Learn of providing eye exams and glasses at no charge through mobile clinics at libraries.

Almost 400 eye exams at Cobb libraries resulted in 254 glasses for students to promote their success in school and in life.

Library staff hosted VTL this summer at the Switzer, North Cobb, South Cobb, Powder Springs and Sibley locations with 13 dates overall in June and July for students ages 5-18. Some of the dates featured two mobile clinic professional teams operating side by side to provide more appointment openings.

A Cobb community leader applying "collective impact" strategies for improving literacy and educational outcomes across the county says Cobb library staff members striving to remove the hurdle of vision challenges is important work.

"In order for children to be successful students — mastering content, developing socially and emotionally, and participating in their campus community, they must have their basic needs met first and that's where the VTL program is so critical," said Irene Barton, Executive Director of the Cobb Collaborative membership organization. "We applaud CCPL for their innovation and their commitment to lifting up all students in our community."

Since 2018, Vision To Learn has provided students at Cobb libraries 1,400-plus eye exams and more than 950 free glasses.

Four metro Atlanta library systems hosted VTL clinics over summer break. Cobb library officials encouraged public library peers in Fulton and Clayton counties to join Cobb County and Gwinnett County libraries this summer in hosting Vision To Learn to significantly expand the impact of this service for Georgia children in need.

VTL partners with public school systems during the regular school year to provide VTL vision screenings and mobile clinics for students. During the 2021-22 school year, Vision To Learn clinics for elementary school students at Marietta City Schools resulted in free glasses for 850 children — 22% of MCS' total elementary school students.

Philanthropical support for Vision To Learn in Georgia is provided by the Atlanta Hawks Foundation, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Georgia Power Company, The Home Depot Foundation, Bobbie Bailey Foundation and other donors.

The work of Cobb libraries with Vision To Learn is through the library's engagement with the Learn4Life Metro Atlanta Regional Education Partnership of schools, businesses and nonprofits. The L4L executive committee includes officials of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Atlanta Regional Commission.

For more information, visit www.cobbcat.org, https://visiontolearn.org/where-we-work/georgia/ or https://l4lmetroatlanta.org.