It’s hard to learn if you can’t read what’s on the blackboard. According to a recent study, a quarter of Oregon school kids aren’t getting the vision care they need.

“Far too many children even here in Oregon that need eyeglasses and exams aren’t able to get them,” said Doug Thompson, the Executive Director of the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation.

The Lions Foundation screens 175,000 Oregon school children every year for vision problems, but affording eye glasses can be a challenge for many.

Eight-year-old Ella Osborne is working to change that. She recently testified before a state Senate committee, lobbying for a bill that would provide enough money for every Oregon elementary student to get their eyes checked.

“By passing Senate bill 187 and funding this program,” Ella told lawmakers, “our schools will be filled with children who can see clearly.”

That’s something Ella knows a bit about. At just a few months old, doctors discovered Ella had a cataract and double vision. She had to use special drops and wear an eyepatch.

“Then when I was two I got my first pair of glasses and I was really excited,” said Ella.

With the help of glasses, Ella sees clearly now and wants to make sure other kids have the same opportunity.

“I really wanted to help them so I came up with the Vision Fun Run and it’s been helping children get the care they need,” Ella said.

This year the Vision Fun Run takes place May 21 at Bonny Slope Elementary School in Portland. At last year’s run, Ella raised more than $2,000, enough to buy glasses for 71 children.

The 2016 Vision Fun Run.
The 2016 Vision Fun Run.

“Ella is remarkable,” Thompson said. “Not remarkable for a kid, Ella is remarkable.”

And she's ready to help more kids focus clearly on their future.

“That would make me feel so awesome,” said Ella. “It would just make me feel like, 'Ella you did it! You helped someone.'”