WATSONVILLE — The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to provide free vision screenings at most of its elementary schools, and free glasses to students who need them.

The agreement with Los Angeles-based nonprofit Vision To Learn will allow the organization to bring its mobile vision clinics to Title 1 elementary schools throughout the district, where students will receive vision tests, and then prescriptions for glasses for those that don’t pass the tests.

Trustee Daniel Dodge Jr. brought the proposal to the board.

Dodge said that he received similar services when he was in school, and that early detection of vision problems can help students academically.

“I think it’s important that we help the children when we can,” he said. “That’s why we’re here and that’s why I was elected.”

Vision To Learn is funded from such grants by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and from the San Jose Sharks and the Golden State Warriors, said Northern California Program Manager Tim Zenor-Davis.

“We recognize that there are thousands if not millions of young people who need access to eye exams who cannot afford them or do not have access to those resources,” he said.

The organization has provided its services to more than 100,000 kids around the U.S., which particularly benefits low-income families with no or limited insurance, Zenor-Davis said.

Many students who previously suffered from vision troubles are often surprised when they see a textbook with their new glasses, he added.

“If you don’t know what the world is supposed to look like, you don’t know you have a problem,” Zenor-Davis said.

The program is set to roll out at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.

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