Chelsea Elliott Founds the half Helen Foundation
After graduating from St. Edward’s University, Chelsea learns about the Welch Allyn Spot Vision Screener. Unlike the standard eye chart which only measures distance acuity, the Spot Screener can identify six of the most common vision impairments. This tool is a game changer in vision care, permitting detection of vision impairment in children as young as 6 months old. Motivated by her own vision loss and armed with an $8,000 grant from the West Austin Lions Club, Chelsea starts the half Helen Foundation to provide affordable vision and hearing screenings to school age children.
From Austin to Hawaii
After learning Hawaii discontinued school-based vision and hearing tests in 1995, Chelsea moves to Maui on January 1st with a business plan called Maui 528. With the help of Lions Jackie Yamamoto and Leo Pollo and the rest of the Maui Lions Club, hH screened 6,617 children on Maui, Lanai, and Molokai and identified 657 students who had a vision problem.
CNN names Chelsea Elliott a CNN Hero
CNN names Chelsea a 2015 CNN Hero in recognition for the work she has been doing to identify children suffering from vision and hearing loss in Hawaii. This notable recognition garners national attention for hH and shines a light on vision impairment and the need for early detection and treatment.
After a successful pilot in Hawaii, Chelsea returns to Texas to continue hH’s work in her home state. Early in the year, hH partners with Austin+Social Good to build a website and begin developing a cohesive brand identity for hH.
hH continues to grow its schedule of screenings and the schools it serves. By the end of year, hH has screened over 27,000 children at 55 schools across Central Texas and and Hawaii.
swift Screen: Streamlining the Process
After years of recording results by hand, hH begins work on a mobile app that allows for the input, management, and sharing of screening results with schools and parents. Leveraging interest from school nurses nationwide, hH takes the prototype to the Philanthropitch stage, wining a record award of $64,100. These funds, alongside funding from St. David’s Foundation, are used to hire Austin-based developer Jackrabbit Mobile to build a proprietary software for hH. Once completed, swift Screen could be used by schools across the country to document and share screening results. The swift Screen mobile app debuts later that year at the Texas School Nurses Organization.
Introducing Optical Prime… Junior
hH launches the first phase of its Optical Prime program, optometry services provided in the form of a traveling “pop-up” clinic on school sites. Funding from Impact Austin and the Lola Wright Foundation provide the exam lane equipment for the program and Kendra Scott donations are used to purchase the equipment transport vehicle.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott appoints Chelsea to the Texas Statewide Health Coordinating Council, which oversees the government agency in charge of children’s vision and hearing.