By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City students gain clearer vision for the future Monday after The Vision for Baltimore Partnership handed out its 5,000th pair of free glasses to elementary and middle school students.

Thousands of city students are seeing clearly now. It starts with a simple screening for students from Pre-K to eighth grade. Students who don’t pass go on to receive a vision exam and get their first pair of glasses, regardless of the parent’s ability to pay.

Five thousand students now have clearer vision because of it. The five-thousandth pair and all the fanfare along with it, went to Glori Mahammitt at Commodore John Rodgers School.

“I’m shocked because it’s a big number, and I didn’t know I was going to get five-thousandth,” said Mahammitt. “So it’s a very big day for me, and I’m on TV.”

The Vision for Baltimore Citywide Partnership was launched in 2016 to serve all city elementary and middle school students, approximately 45 schools each year.

“It’s very different because it used to be blurry and I didn’t know it could be this good,” said Mahammitt.

Baltimore City School CEO, Sonja Santelises knows the feeling.

“I remember being in the fourth grade and thinking everybody saw things that looked as blurry as I did and thinking everybody must have to squint like this to see the board.”” said Santelises. “I was really glad when I got that first pair of glasses and the world felt like a very different place.”

Students like Mahammit, are not only able to see better but feel better about themselves and their capabilities.

“It feels good,” said Mahammitt. “It feels like I’m smarter.”

Vision for Baltimore brings services directly to the schools.

“They can now see what’s on the board, they can see the book that’s in front of them,” said Marc Martin, principal at Commodore John Rodgers School. “And by keeping them engaged, they’re learning.

Students will continue to receive glasses through the end of the school year.

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