Atlanta

Hawks, nonprofit Vision to Learn team up, give students ‘gift of sight’ to elementary students

ATLANTA — Dozens of elementary school students in northwest Atlanta went home Tuesday with new eyeglasses thanks to the Atlanta Hawks teaming up with the nonprofit Vision to Learn.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen was there the moment when the kids got to have a life-changing experience.

On Tuesday morning, some of the students couldn’t see the whiteboard in their classes clearly. Now, they’re going home with 20/20 vision thanks to the new glasses.

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Fifth grader Iriell Shorter has a bright future and now, she can see it very clearly.

“When I put the glasses on, it feels like a whole new world,” Shorter said.

It’s an experience she’s sharing with dozens of students at William Boyd Elementary School in northwest Atlanta.

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“Imagine not being able to see,” Principal Joi Kilpatrick told Channel 2 Action News.

Kilpatrick needed glasses when she was in the third grade. She said poor vision can cause students to fall behind. But these kids will catch up very quickly.

Kilpatrick told Channel 2 Action News that programs like this are important for families that might have a hard time affording glasses and eye exams.

The Atlanta Hawks, the nonprofit Vision to Learn, and Georgia’s Own Credit Union teamed up to provide free eye exams, spectacles, and encouragement for any child who felt self-conscious about putting them on.

The encouragement came courtesy of the NBA star known as “The Human Highlight Film.”

“Well, I say—you know what—If I can wear glasses, anybody can wear glasses,” Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins said.

Shorter certainly loves hers.

“A lot of people said I look like Harry Potter! Except a girl version!” she said.

Along with the new glasses, all the children picked out brand-new storybooks.

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