Atlanta Hawks and non-profit provide glasses to Toney Elementary

It’s a stunning contrast.

One moment, the world appears to be an indecipherable kaleidoscope of colors. Shapes can be made out, but no real details can be seen.

The next moment, everything comes into focus. Faces look more friendly. A book’s words become clear. A chalkboard’s numbers become easier to see and understand.

Hawks players, district officials and students smile on stageThis is what happens when a vision-impaired student in need of glasses finally receives them.

On Monday, December 10, 2018, more than 60 students at Toney Elementary received a brand new pair of glasses courtesy of DeKalb County School District (DCSD), nonprofit Vision to Learn, and the Atlanta Hawks Foundation. As part of a schoolwide celebration, students received their glasses from district officials as well as Hawks players Vince Carter, Kent Bazemore and Tyler Dorsey. Students then took part in a basketball clinic with the pros, Hawks staff, as well as mascot Harry the Hawk.

Two weeks prior to the celebratory event, Vision to Learn visited Toney Elementary to conduct eye exams and allow students to pick out their desired glasses. The nonprofit returned with professional NBA players, a joyful mascot, and DCSD officials.

“Today is the day—66 students who would not have glasses otherwise will have them today,” said Superintendent/CEO Dr. R. Stephen Green. “These students will be able to see and read. It will be a blessing for students to be able to react and respond, and take that knowledge wherever they go. It gives me great pride and pleasure to be in partnership with Vision to Learn. Many organizations talk about wrap-around services, but they take action and actually do something. We’re proud to be able to do this for our students and proud of the leadership at Toney.”

Katherine Silver, chief human relations officer with Vision to Learn, said a new pair of glasses can increase access to academic achievement and improve a student’s overall quality of life.

“With the support of the Atlanta Hawks Foundation, Vision to Learn has helped more than 4,300 students in the metro Atlanta area. As you look around the room today, everyone is here because we want students to see clearly and help them do well at school,” Silver said.

student shoots basketball while Hawks players watchVince Carter shared his own story about wearing glasses and how it greatly benefitted his own life.

“If I didn’t wear glasses I couldn’t see anything,” Carter told students. “It’s important to wear your glasses so you can see and do anything you want. And yes, they will make you smarter.”

DeKalb County board of education member Vickie Turner was also present to celebrate the occasion.

“I’m so excited to be here, I’m so excited for this school and the Vision to Learn program—I can’t thank them enough for their commitment to DeKalb County School District students,” Tuner said. “The world is going to open up for these students.”