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Our Story

Providing Florida's at-risk children with vision services since 1994.

Our Story

The Beginning

Charting new territory and insuring that people can see their destination clearly is nothing new to the Jeppesen Family and their friends. In the early days of aviation, Captain Elrey Borge “Jepp” Jeppesen charted the skies so that pilots could see clearly, even in the darkest of nights. Today, nearly every private and commercial pilot uses “Jepp Charts” around the globe to see their destinations clearly, safely and efficiently.

His good friend, Al Ueltschi, expanded upon Captain Jepp’s idea and founded Flight Safety and spearheaded project ORBIS, an international flying hospital that helps people in third world countries to see their destinations clearly by eliminating blindness through surgery.

Though these two great aviation pioneers inspired Florida’s Vision Quest founder, Nancy Jeppesen, it was the personal profound impact that clear vision had on her daughter, Kelly, that inspired her to create an organization to help children see their destination. At age 10, FVQ’s Executive Director Kelly Haynes, suffered from disappointment and frustration when she could not make the desired grades and achievements in school, simply due to an undiagnosed vision problem. After receiving her first pair of glasses, Kelly was able to improve her grades and see a brighter future.

Clear vision changed Kelly’s life, and it was this inspiration that led founder Nancy Jeppesen to begin charting new territory, focusing on vision – ensuring that children can see their destinations clearly.

Discovering The Unseen

The Florida's Vision Quest program began serving 11 Title One Orange County Public Schools in 1994, with a little more than a handful of volunteers and a dream. In those days, if a child failed a school-based vision screening, there were no resources available for low-income families who were without insurance. In an effort to discover the extent of the need, school vision screening teams were asked to identify children who not only failed the screening, but whose families did not have the financial resources to provide follow-up care. As word spread, hundreds of families began finding their way to weekend clinics where volunteers provided vision exams and manufactured glasses on the spot. The extensive need for vision services were vast. By 1997, it became clear that this was more than just a local issue and the statewide expansion began.

The Gift of Sight

From 1997 to 1999, the Orange County “model” was replicated in 66 Florida counties. Hundreds of vision screening teams, social workers and teachers were recruited to identify, qualify and refer students to the program. Over 350 eye care professionals throughout the state joined our network to provide pro-bono vision exams within their respective offices. The Vision Quest Lab was born to manufacture beautiful, new eyeglasses as needed and sent back to the doctor for dispensing.

In 2000 FVQ developed a mobile vision program with a 37 ft. bus staffed by eye care professionals that travel to schools and other public locations where the need is great and resources are limited.

Achieving success in school is one of the first building blocks critical to achieving success in life. Today, the organization touches nearly every county in Florida, ensuring that at-risk children have the most basic and fundamental tools needed for academic and social success; clear vision. Florida’s Vision Quest has provided over 200,000 children with the gift of sight, improving their academic and social success.

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Our Amazing PARTNERS

We couldn't do what we do without the generous help of our partners. See who supports Florida's Vision Quest.