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The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, has partnered with Florida's Vision Quest to launch the new "Now You See It" Mobile Vision Program at Lely High School on Monday, September 9, 2013 at 7:30am. Collier County Schools Superintendent Kamela Patton, together with  NCEF Board Chairman Bob Clifford, will mark  the occasion.


"The young  people receiving glasses today  and in the upcoming years will have not only improved vision, but also increased literacy, improved school grades, and a renewed interest in academics," comments Clifford. Thanks to the NCEF funding, Collier is the first county in Florida to have a dedicated mobile  unit for vision examinations and dispensing prescription eyeglasses targeting underprivileged and at risk children.


Vision problems stifle the social, academic and developmental progress of many children in this county. That is to say; our children don't even  know what they can't see  until we reveal  to them a world  with corrected vision through prescription eyeglasses. Research has indicated that 1in 4 children in the United States have significant vision  problems; among Title I students and academically and behaviorally at-risk children, up to 85%  have vision  problems that are either undetected or untreated.


With this information in mind,  NCEF partnered with  Florida's Vision Quest in 2008 to begin vision examinations and provide  prescription eyeglasses for 600 children in low-income schools.  Since, the program and need for vision services has expanded every year.


Today, the "Now You See It" Mobile Vision Program, which  represents Phase II of the Children's Vision Initiative, provides a more comprehensive approach in meeting the vision needs of every child at all Title I schools in Collier.   Using a full­ time optometrist stationed in a custom-designed, 37-foot  pediatric mobile eye clinic, the Mobile Vision Program will use the latest vision screening technology to assess approximately 20,000  children a year.  Then  it will provide follow-up  comprehensive vision exams and two pairs of glasses (one for school  and one for home)  for those  identified with  poor vision.  


Funding for the first three years  of the NCEF Children's Vision Initiative is estimated at $2 million.  Program partners include not only Florida's Vision Quest and the Collier County School District. but also Lighthouse of Collier County, the Lions Club, Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida and the Collier County Department of Health.


"We believe that  this "Now You See It" Mobile Vision Program will have significant impact  on learning in Collier County," concludes Clifford. "We're delighted to see this program get on the road."