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Testimonials

Dear Friend,

Hello my name is Courtney and I'm a senior at Gause Academy, I am writing on behalf of Florida's Vision Quest. I have had glasses since I was in the end of my freshmen year and now currently ready to walk across the stage to my diploma. I am very grateful for Florida's Vision Quest because of several reasons. I have been struggling for about six to seven years with my vision and never thought about considering glasses until Vision Quest recommended me. When I was younger I knew I needed them but prices were too high and Momma couldn't afford them. During the three years that Vision Quest provided me with glasses; my grades drastically improved and I became a real student, I did very well on my SAT's, and I never thought in my wildest dreams…but, I was accepted into College! I would like to thank Florida's Vision Quest for being such a strong help in my life and for giving me the ability to succeed. It is because of them, I will walk across the stage toward my diploma with a brighter clearer future. I don't know what I would do without them! Thank you!

My name is Mallie Fulford. My child Kaley Fulford was helped by the Florida's Vision Quest Mobile Clinic. I am writing to share my story…

We adopted my little girl when she was born in 2002. She was always shy and stubborn. She also had a speech problem. As she entered school she had a lot of problems participating with the class and when singled out she would hide under the desk. She was failing and always in trouble – to say the least.

Now we look back and realize that due to her poor vision it's not that she did not want to participate, she just couldn't see and due to her speech problem she was not able to tell anyone. Her speech has now gotten better because she is now able to read. For the first time, she is actually reading books and behaving like a normal 6 year old. She loves wearing her glasses and takes pride in them all day long.

In my opinion her world was opened thanks to Florida's Vision Quest and I cannot thank them enough!!! They not only saved her life, they saved the life of our family… and I cry every time I think about it. Who knows how many other children's lives they will change? Aren't our children worth it?

Thank you!
Mallie Fulford

Thank You to Everyone!! It has been crazy - from a logistical perspective. In the course of one month, final arrangements for the Vision Quest services were made, permission forms were distributed, returned, categorized, alphabetized, sorted, resorted, and data compiled. One week ago today, the second round of students was being evaluated by the optometrist - in their bus, on our campus. Today, I distributed all but 8 pairs of glasses.

In retrospect I ask, did I get a positive return on my investment of time and energy? All I can hear is the giggling inside my head. I feel complete, unadulterated joy at having been given this blessing. What a feeling to experience the gift of good vision through the eyes of the guileless. One little girl gave me a very big smile then stepped back to let her friend get hers. When both had their glasses, they hugged and then jumped up and down, still hugging. They stood back, looked at each other, then jumped up and down some more! All three girls just looked around the room with huge smiles upon their faces. I was seeing what a gift I had been given through their eyes. The experience was quite similar for every student. Some were shy and embarrassed about putting the glasses on in front of me but the eyes told their story more effectively than I ever could in words. First, the look of wide-eyed shock as everything came into focus. Next always came the smile on their faces. Then the visual sweep of the room as the smile remained on their faces.

Then there are the stories. One child lost her glasses in the 7th grade - she is now a junior - 4 years of struggling. The screeners told me a former student's vision was so bad, their scale did not go that high. Is it any surprise this student has been a serious discipline problem? Teachers have sent me emails about individual students and their reactions - joy. I don't know that you can possibly grasp the gift you have given to them, as well as to me. The recipients now have clear vision and that initial experience happens only once for them. Since Friday, when I began distributing the glasses, I have experienced it 41 times. Over the next few days, I will experience it eight more times. Mid-November, another 30 pair will arrive. My wish is that you could be a fly on the wall and experience it for yourself.

Opportunities like this do not present themselves often, so of course, I made the most of it. I advised students to go to the Vision Quest website and post their comments about their experience. If they do, then the funding for this amazing program may continue. It is their way of 'paying it forward'. They all smiled, acknowledging the lesson being taught, and promised to post their comments in about a week or so.

Thank you so much for allowing me the leverage to put this together and as a result, to show Hashem that he spared my life for a reason. Thank you for allowing me to touch the lives of students that are not mine. It has certainly made my post-cancer return worthwhile. I so look forward to being able to do this again.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth

Dear Friend,

I wish to provide you with feedback regarding the importance of the Florida Vision Quest Program. Earlier this year, Vision Quest performed 56 vision examinations at Walker Middle School. Fifty-five of those students required eyeglasses to correct their vision. Many of those students attended my classes. It was amazing that so many students were looking forward to receiving their new glasses. It was even more amazing that the students actually wore their new glasses every day. Student achievement improved after the students could see the board and the screen in front of the classroom.

The ability to see clearly is something most of us take for granted. But some of our students with the highest need would never have the opportunity to have corrected vision without programs like Florida Vision Quest.

Our school is a Title 1 campus. Over 75% of our students are on free or reduced lunch. The Vision Quest Program allows us to reach some of the students with the highest need in our district. If the Florida Legislature truly wants to make a difference in the lives of children, I urge you and your colleagues to continue supporting the Florida Vision Quest Program. It's a difficult budget year, and it isn't projected to get better soon, but this program is so important because it levels the playing field on one of the most fundamentals of rights – the right to see clearly.

Best Regards,

Paul
Walker Middle School

Dear Friend,

I have taught the fourth grade at Pine Crest Elementary School for 5 years. During that time, Vision Quest has given several of my students much needed eye exams, frequently leading to much needed glasses. Many of our students come from families that simply cannot afford the cost of eye exams and glasses. Without the Vision Quest program these students would continue to struggle and fall behind in school. Sadly, glasses are sometimes the difference between a D/F or an A/B for a student! Being able to SEE the board, textbook, and their own writing is crucial to student success.

Thank you for supporting this wonderful program!
Sincerely,
Ms. Sarah
Pine Crest Elementary

Dear Friend,

I would like to tell you how much the Vision Quest program has helped my 8th grade students. This past year 2 of my students at Walker Middle were fitted with glasses for near-sightedness. What a difference it makes for these children who have gone without glasses for quite some time. Being near-sighted myself, I understand how not seeing the board, a demonstration experiment, not being able to observe science activities, interferes with learning and retention of what you learn. These students were isolated from learning without glasses, even when permitted to move as close as possible. It shuts off parts of your brain that need to be gathering data. If we are truly educating children, we must give them something as simple as glasses to be successful. Please continue to support this program. Their parents could not provide them with what was necessary to learn successfully in school! This program CAN!

Thank you,

Melanie
Walker Middle School

Dear Friend,

I would like to take a moment to talk about Florida's Vision Quest. Last year they provided more than 25 of our students with eye exams and eyeglasses. The number has been even greater in past years. I work in a Title 1 school. This means that so many of our families are not even sure if they will have food or stable housing from week to week. The luxury of eye exams and eyeglasses is distant for many of them. However, we know the necessity of proper vision in order to achieve academic, as well as social success. The service that FVQ provides to our kiddos is priceless. It allows our students to overcome one of the many obstacles that they have in their paths.

I, myself am legally blind and know all too well the limitations that low vision can place on one's life. As a professional, I appreciate the educational benefits that this program provides. However, as an individual with low vision and unique insight into the complications that come with this, it warms my heart to know that Florida's Vision Quest helps remove these complications for our students.

Even though I am unable to attend today's meeting, I wanted my thoughts to be voiced. In my experience, I have seen the positive changes in students' lives that this program has made. Florida's Vision Quest not only helps our kiddos today, but aids in securing a successful future for Florida.

Sincerely, Angira Sadler Elementary

I am a school nurse and Vision Quest came to my elementary school last year. They screened 25 children and ALL of them needed eyeglasses which were provided to them at no charge. Unfortunately, without the assistance provided by Vision Quest, these children may not have been able to afford and receive eye exams and eyeglasses which ultimately would lead to poor school performance and poor self esteem. I personally did a vision screen on one student whose vision was so poor I was afraid that he may not see the street signs or a car when crossing a street. Vision Quest is a vital resource for those students that have no other resource and/or insurance for vision care. Please help the less fortunate children in our community.

Thank you,
Nurse Nancy.