ASU Biology Students Partner with FocusFirst for Kids’ Eye Screenings

News Date
biology student

General Biology Honor students at ASU have been participating in a service-learning program for over the last 10 years, which works to identify vision problems among Alabama preschoolers.

The students, which are in ASU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM), have been volunteering with FocusFirst Initiative, a nationwide program that conducts vision screenings for preschool-aged children across America.

ASU was the first of Alabama’s Historically Black College and Universities to become involved with the program.

Dr. Kartz E. Bibb, Associate Professor and Coordinator, began the partnership with Stephen Black, founder and president of ImpactAlabama, now ImpactAmerica, in 2008.  The FocusFirst Initiative provides vision screenings for approximately 2,000 children in Montgomery-area early childhood centers this month.

Bibb said the students learn about the anatomy of the eye and how visual information is processed while providing an invaluable service to the community.

“The mission of FocusFirst is to provide a cost-effective, direct response to the vision problems of underprivileged children in Alabama and other states, who live in urban and rural poverty,” Bibb said. “FocusFirst strives to ensure that these children, ages two to five, begin their education with the best vision medically possible.”

In 2017-2018, according to ImpactAmerica (, over 534,588 children have been screened.  FocusFirst provided vision care to 48,500 children in Alabama alone in 2016-2017.  Impact America’s Service-Learning Programs Provide vision care to 87,000 preschoolers through volunteers.

Impact Alabama, supported in large part by an AmeriCorps grant, is the state’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and implementing substantive service-learning projects in coordination with select universities and colleges throughout the country.

Vision screenings were held during Fall 2018, by ASU students at the following Montgomery locations:

Taylor Road Head Stare

Seth Johnson Elementary

Kinder Care Learning Center

Gibbs Village Head Start

Kershaw Head Start

New Horizons Preschool

New Home Head Start

Kingdom Seekers Worship Center

Resurrection OSR Catholic Preschool

Faulkner University Pre-K

YMCA Cleveland Avenue OSR Pre-K

YMCA Good Times Center

Transformation OSR Preschool

All About Kids Learning Development Center

Auburn University at Montgomery Early Childhood Center

YMCA Tulane Gardens Preschool

Edgemont Head Start

First United Methodist Montgomery

Cobblestone Learning Center


**Office of School Readiness                               

FocusFirst is a collaborative effort among campuses across America, Vision Research Corporation, Sight Savers of Alabama, the Success by Six program of the United Way of Central Alabama and the Alabama Head Start Association.