HISD Glasses for Kids

The Houston School Board will vote next week on a proposal to replace eye-glasses lost by hundreds of Louisiana children during the Hurricane Katrina evacuation last year. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Thousands of Louisiana families came to Houston with not much more than the clothes on their backs. Many left everything behind, including their childrens' eye-glasses. Many of those children are still enrolled in Houston schools and they still need glasses, so HISD will buy or replace their glasses at no cost. Nurse-Manager for HISD Health Services Gwen Johnson says the district's own homeless children will also qualify.

"We anticipate that there's going to be about 600 kids, and we know a little bit of that because of a survey that was done across the district with our school nurses. So we're anticipating--we know how many homeless children we have, and we know that for each child there is that potential."

Johnson says school nurses will check the childrens' vision and contact parents of those who need glasses to let them know, and those who can't afford new glasses can apply to get them at no cost. She says it's an investment in these childrens' futures because they can't learn if they need glasses.

"Absolutely. You know we firmly believe that healthy children learn better, and of course eye health is just as important."

If the school board approves next week, the Eye Care for Kids Foundation will provide the glasses for $79 a pair, which will be paid by HISD out of a federal grant. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.