Network Alumni Win 2014 Social Innovation Award

When Andrew Shirman was a Fellow in a Teach For China classroom in the mountains of rural Yunnan province, he noticed that some of the lowest performing students were squinting to see the board. Realizing this was a problem he could solve, he worked with other Teach For China Fellows to launch the first phase of Education in Sight, an organization with a mission to improve the academic performance of low-income students with poor vision by providing low-cost glasses and eye care education.

In 2012, the Yunnan pilot program provided free eye screenings  for over 1600 local students and free glasses to the over 300 children who needed them. Since that time, Education in Sight has grown into an international non-profit co-founded by Shirman and Teach For America alumnus George Dong, who was recently named among the winners of the Teach For America 2014 Alumni Social Innovation Awards. Today, Education in Sight serves students in low income communities in both China and the US, and plans to quadruple the number of screenings provided in China and double its screenings in the US in the next fiscal year.  

This year marks first time in the award's three-year history that an initiative co-founded by alumni of Teach For America and another Teach For All network partner was among the winners. Other 2014 winners include Veronica Palmer, Milagros Barsallo, and Tangia Estrada, founders of RISE Colorado, and School Justice Project co-founders Claire Blumenson and Sarah Comeau. In April, RISE Colorado’s Veronica Palmer participated in a panel on community engagement at the Teach For All Global System Change Conference in Santiago, Chile that resonated with alumni leaders and program staff across the network.

Learn more about Education in Sight at EdWeek.

View Veronica Palmer’s presentation on Building the Parent Movement.

Visit the Teach For America Alumni Social Innovation Awards website