In April 2012, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman James Loney and Austin Beutner, a civic leader and candidate for mayor, showed up at Castelar Elementary School in Chinatown for the launch of Vision To Learn. The program gives free eyeglasses to kids who need but don’t have or can’t afford them, on the idea that helping children see will improve their performance in school and in life.
Beutner soon quit the mayoral campaign (he later spent a year as publisher of the Los Angeles Times and remains engaged in public affairs), and today Loney is out of the major leagues. Vision To Learn, however, has grown into a huge success, and last week Beutner appeared with two current Dodgers at an event in City West to mark the nonprofit’s fifth anniversary.
Austin Beutner and the L.A. 2020 CommissionBeutner appeared at Plasencia Elementary School with Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner, and members of the L.A. Dodgers Foundation, the team’s charitable arm, on Tuesday, May 2. They handed out glasses to 43 students, as hundreds more clad in blue Dodger shirts and hats cheered. Vision To Learn now operates in over 170 cities and has given out more than 65,000 pairs of glasses.