In the United States, more than 20 percent of all school-aged children have vision problems, often a leading cause in delayed development in reading, language skills, and social advancement. Unmet vision care needs disproportionately affect children in low-to-moderate-income communities, creating a lasting impact on their academic achievements and overall wellbeing. This July, also known as Healthy Vision Month, the Foundation is spotlighting the work of the Beacon Christian Community Health Center, a key community voice and resource in raising awareness of eye health.
Since 2006, the Beacon Christian Community Health Center (BCCHC) has served over 5,000 patients each year on Staten Island, primarily in Mariners Harbor where patients face extreme levels of poverty. BCCHC provides the community with everything from primary care and nutrition counseling to an array of social services and health education.
To support BCCHC’s efforts to provide vision care, the Foundation granted BCCHC $125,000 to support the full-time salary of an optometrist and ensure vision care services to 400 children and adolescents to improve their education and health outcomes.
BCCHC’s new program, Closing the Achievement Gap with Proper Vision Care, further expands its services to address the vision care needs of Staten Island, including a full range of vision care services provided by a licensed optometrist. Services include vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams, and visual acuity correction through the use of glasses. With this new program, BCCHC will reduce health and academic disparities among vulnerable youth and families on Staten Island to ensure a brighter future for children and new or expecting mothers.
The organization is also deploying its care managers to specifically work with patient’s parents and guardians to help them access all necessary services and government benefits, so children who need glasses or other critical eye care services are granted them in an affordable and sustainable way.
Healthy Vision Month serves as a reminder that as the school year approaches and in-person learning continues, students and families in New York must be provided the necessary vision care to stay healthy and succeed.
To learn more about the services provided at BCCHC, visit their website here.