VSP’s Sight for Students Program Helps 500,000th Child

Rancho Cordova, Calif., March 9, 2009 – Today, VSP®’s charitable Sight for Students program announced it helped the 500,000th child since its inception in 1997. The program has funded almost $100 million in free eyecare and eyewear for low-income, uninsured and underinsured children.  
Sight for Students started as part of VSP’s commitment to America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership network working to improve the lives of America’s young people founded by General Colin Powell in 1997. VSP’s Sight for Students program offers qualified families with vouchers to visit one of their 25,000 network doctors who provide comprehensive eye exams, identify vision issues and prescribe glasses during their visit. 
“This is a significant milestone for us because investing in the community is at the heart of VSP’s mission as a company,” said VSP President and CEO Rob Lynch. “More than 94 percent of the children who have these exams need and receive free prescription glasses. This underscores the important role that Sight for Students serves for children who lack access to eyecare.”
According to a recent nationwide study, more than 76 percent of American children under the age of five have never received a comprehensive eye exam and one in four kids in every classroom has vision problems. 
“My son began struggling in Kindergarten and complaining of headaches to the school nurse,” said Raul’s Alfaro’s father of Fort Wayne, Ind. “His eyesight began affecting his performance in the classroom, and my wife and I knew we had to do something about it despite the financial hardships we were experiencing at the time. We signed-up for VSP’s Sight for Students program and had Raul’s eyes examined. Shortly after his exam, Raul picked out a new pair of glasses and moved to the head of his class.”
VSP works with non-profit community organizations to deliver Sight for Students eyecare including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Communities in Schools, Head Start, National Association of School Nurses, and Prevent Blindness America.  “Sight for Students exemplifies the kind of impactful work that our 275 Alliance partners engage in everyday to improve the lives of children and youth in this country,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “The Alliance is proud that this great program was born from a commitment made to us and we congratulate VSP on this tremendous milestone because we know that the health of our young people is an essential ingredient for their overall success.”
In 2008, VSP's Charitable Programs provided 171,420 vouchers for Sight for Students, Mobile Clinic Exams/Vouchers, and American Red Cross vouchers. More than half of VSP’s charitable efforts support the Sight for Students program.
For more information about Sight for Students, including Spanish translated materials, please visit www.vsp.com/community.  
About VSP Global
VSP GlobalSM is composed of a complementary group of leading companies, all working together to meet and exceed today’s eyecare professionals’ business needs. The companies include VSP® Vision Care, the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the United States; Marchon® and Altair®, cutting-edge manufacturers, designers, and distributors of quality fashion and technologically advanced sunwear and eyewear; Eye Designs, a leader in the design of custom interiors and merchandising systems for the optical industry; Eyefinity®OfficeMate®, innovative e-commerce and practice management solutions, and electronic medical records software; and VSP Optics Group, offering ophthalmic products and providing technologically advanced lab services. VSP Global, combining the strength and expertise of each of these companies, offers a choice of integrated eyecare and eyewear programs and services that enhance eyecare professionals’ ability to deliver the best patient experience and build a thriving business.
Since 1997, VSP has provided more than 553,000 low-income, uninsured children with free eyecare. Through relationships including those with the American Diabetes Association and Prevent Blindness America, VSP promotes the importance of annual eye exams for maintaining eye health and overall wellness. 





Pat McNeil