The partnership between the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and nonprofit Vision To Learn could provide up to 2,000 students with free eye exams and glasses.
The program is being supported by donations from Theisen’s Home·Farm·Auto, Vision To Learn, Klauer Optical Co., and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.
DUBUQUE, Iowa—More kids in Northeast Iowa will be seeing clearly after the Vision To Learn mobile clinic travels to 45 schools during the 2016-2017 school year. Last year, Vision To Learn and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (CFGD) partnered to pilot the vision program in eight Title I schools in Dubuque and Jackson Counties. As a result, nearly 180 students received free eye exams and 90 students received two free pairs of glasses.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue this partnership with Vision To Learn and expand this program to all our affiliate counties. We are lucky to have local partners like Theisen’s and Klauer who are so passionate about helping young people in our community,” said Nancy Van Milligen, president and CEO of CFGD. “Through our work with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, we know that there are still kids in our region who are not reading at grade level. Proper vision care is just one of the tools that can help them be successful in school.”
Starting in September, the mobile clinic will begin traveling to area schools in Allamakee, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties where it has the potential to serve more than 2,000 kids in need of vision care. The clinic will continue its journey throughout Eastern Iowa during the school year, and in the summer months it will make stops at summer programs and local organizations serving children. Students will be identified for an exam on the mobile clinic based on school screenings, and those requiring a prescription will each receive two free pairs of glasses—one to keep at school and one to take home.
The program is made possible through donations from Theisen’s Home·Farm·Auto, Klauer Optical Co., Vision To Learn and CFGD.
“Being a part of Vision To Learn provides kids the opportunity to see and therefore succeed. Theisen’s Home·Farm·Auto is proud to help sponsor this expanding program,” said Jim Theisen, president of Theisen’s Home·Farm·Auto.
The partnership with Klauer Optical Co., will allow the glasses given to students to be sourced locally. Students will receive their new glasses faster and repairs can be done more quickly, reducing the time that children must be without their much-needed glasses.
“Klauer has been working with the Dubuque Community School District for the past 10 years to help supply eyeglasses for children who need them, but can’t afford them or access them. The difference we have seen this make in the student’s school performance and overall well-being has been tremendously positive,” said Jeff Klauer. “I was very pleased to participate in the Vision To Learn pilot program last year, and look forward to taking an active role in the upcoming year in helping children in our community who need eye care.”
As many as 20,000 students in Iowa lack the glasses they need to see the board, read a book and participate in class. Due to lack of health insurance, difficulty accessing eye care providers and other obstacles, many students who are identified in state-mandated school vision screenings do not receive the follow-up care or glasses they need.
Since 2012, the nonprofit Vision To Learn has addressed this problem by giving children access to vision care through Vision To Learn mobile clinics that travels to school sites. Students receive a vision exam from an optometrist and, if glasses are prescribed, can choose their frames from a wide selection of colors and sizes.
(QUOTE FROM AUSTIN – VTL)
CFGD brings Vision To Learn to Iowa through its Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which works to help more children read at grade level by the end of third grade. Research by the University of California Los Angeles Mattel Children’s Hospital shows that Vision To Learn has a direct impact on education outcomes for children supported by the program and improves the learning environment for the entire classroom and school.
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Vision To Learn began operations in Los Angeles in 2012 and now serves children in schools throughout California, Delaware, Iowa and Hawaii. As a not-for-profit organization, Vision To Learn serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach kids in low-income communities. More than 89% of kids served by Vision To Learn live in poverty and 87% are kids of color. Since its inception, Vision To Learn has helped more than 45,000 kids. For more information, visit www.visiontolearn.org
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque is dedicated to improving the quality of life in our region by serving donors, making grants to local nonprofit organizations, and providing community leadership through convening and collaboration. For more information, visit www.dbqfoundation.org.
Applications for 2016 Theisen’s More for Your Community grants are due August 15, two weeks earlier than in past years. More than $250,000 in total grants will be distributed to the region served by Theisen’s Home•Farm•Auto. The maximum request per project application is $5,000.
The More for Your Community Program will make direct grants to agencies to jumpstart and/or sustain projects that most effectively and directly serve the basic needs of families and children, which include food, shelter, education, safety and health. Applicants must be 501(c)(3), nonprofit, government-sponsored or school-sponsored organizations and that directly serve children and families within a 60-mile radius of a Theisen’s Home•Farm•Auto store.
The online application process is open now at www.dbqfoundation.org/Theisens. Directions to access the online site are also available at the checkouts at each store.
Theisen’s Home•Farm•Auto President Jim Theisen said, “We invite nonprofit groups to complete an application online and tell us by August 15 how we can help them meet these important needs more effectively.”
For the last month, Theisen’s stores across Iowa and Wisconsin have been selling Forget Me Not flowers for $1. Additionally, the corporate office held fundraisers and gathered donations totaling, $35,944. To that amount, Theisen’s Home Farm Auto added an additional $5000, bringing the total of their donation to $40,944. A check in that amount was presented today at the Dubuque Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
The funds will be spread across the communities where Theisen’s have stores, in their continued effort to support local charities.
Theisen’s recently closed applications for their yearly MORE FOR YOUR COMMUNITY grants, which in the prior year totaled over $252,000 in donations to location non-profits.
Theisen’s, started in Dubuque Iowa in 1927, currently operates 20 stores in Iowa and 2 in Wisconsin, with another store opening in Davenport, IA this fall. Along with its extensive retail offerings, Theisen’s brings to their communities a philanthropic presence, highlighting the importance of giving back to the communities and associates who make the business a growing success. The corporate headquarters and distribution center is located in Dubuque.
Theisen’s Home Farm Auto today announced the hire of Brannon Dixon as the family-owned retailer’s first outside President. In this role, Dixon will direct all functions to attain strategic, financial and operational goals for the overall performance of the Theisen’s Home Farm Auto retail organization. Theisen’s Home Farm Auto also announced that the owners have formed a Board of Directors to guide Theisen’s in achieving its goals through strategy development and organizational performance in alignment with company vision, mission and the achievement of desired business outcomes.
“Over the past two years, we’ve undergone an exhaustive self-evaluation to assess how best to take the Theisen’s Home Farm Auto organization to the next level. I’m confident that Brannon’s experience and passion make him the right fit for Theisen’s business and for our team. He’s an experienced, decisive leader and will play a critical role in guiding Theisen’s to ensure that we continue to meet the ever-evolving wants and needs of our current and future customers,” said Jim Theisen.
Jim, Chris and Tony Theisen will continue to guide the family business on a daily basis through their roles on the Board of Directors. On the Board, Jim will act as the Chairman Emeritus, Chris the Co-Chair – Chief Facility Officer, and Tony the Co-Chair – Chief Strategic Officer.
Dixon joins Theisen’s Home Farm Auto from Party City, where he was Vice President of Store Operations; overseeing 203 Party City stores and 112 Halloween City Pop Seasonal stores. During his tenure with the company, he instilled a developmental culture for associates, aligned the Halloween City organization into the Party City organization and created a financial strategic plan for the stores.
Prior to Party City, Brannon had eighteen years with Wal-Mart and, in his last assignment, was Regional General Manager for Wal-Mart’s Western Missouri Region with P&L accountability for 62 stores. Brannon reversed a 5-year erosion of market share and stagnant profitability of this historically top-performing market for the company and reignited profitable market share.
Brannon began his Wal-Mart career as an assistant Store Manager which then led to Strategy Manager, Information Systems Division where he managed cross-functionally across the Wal-Mart organization to develop solutions and implement strategy creating value and providing support to the store system’s environment. A passionate retailer, Brannon went on to become a District Manager, Market Director and Director of Operations before ending his Wal-Mart career as a Regional General Manager.
About Theisen’s Home Farm Auto
Dubuque based Theisen’s Home Farm Auto serves its customers at 22 stores located throughout Iowa and Wisconsin communities. Their 23rd store will be opening in Davenport, IA in October 2016. Since 1927, Theisen’s has operated their stores in the format of traditional Farm and Ranch Stores. These stores are focused on the customer segments of farm & ranch, recreational farmers, rural and urban homeowners, independent business owners, country DIY, outdoorsmen, equine owners and animal/pet owners, Additional information about Theisen’s can be found at www.theisens.com