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Eye to Eye National

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Civil Rights, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights, Education, Special Education, Youth Development

Mission: Our mission is to improve the educational experience and outcomes of every student who learns differently, including those with specific learning disabilities (LD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other similar challenges related to learning.

Results: Eye to Eye has a proven track record of over 20 years: we operate across 25 states and we have served over 10,000 students in 275 schools. Overall, students in the program also demonstrated increased knowledge of accommodations available in middle, or high school, as well as their availability in college. They also showed a positive integration of learning differences and their LD / ADHD label into their identities. A four-year research study completed in 2019 by the University of San Francisco's BrainLens Lab determined that Eye to Eye students show an increase in self-esteem, decrease in depressive symptoms, more comfort with their LD, and are better connected with their community.

Target demographics: Students with learning and attention differences and educators who teach students with learning differences.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,200 students across 25 states.

Geographic areas served: Schools with the highest need across the country.

Programs: Eye to Eye's programs are designed to address the social and emotional learning needs of students with learning disabilities. Social and emotional learning is the process of recognizing strengths and areas of need, solving problems, making responsible decisions, setting positive and realistic goals, respecting others, and having self-respect, as well as appreciating differences. With social and emotional learning at the core, Eye to Eye's programs seek to improve student performance at the same or better rates than their non-LD peers, evolve educator practice to adequately meet the needs of students who learn differently, and evolve education policy to ensure student's voice is represented. We accomplish this through the following programs: Eye to Eye's near-peer mentoring program helps middle school students with learning differences understand and embrace their unique way of learning. They are empowered with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to effectively advocate for what they need to be successful in an inclusive environment free of stigma and bullying. At the same time, high school and college students with learning differences serve as mentors to increase skills in leadership, organizing, and advocacy to promote a more equitable education system for all. Eye to Eye's educator professional learning program equips and inspires general educators with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to effectively teach students who learn differently within the current education system through structured student-centered training and professional development opportunities. Educators receive in-depth training content that focuses on helping middle school students develop strong social and emotional skills, access effective accommodations, and create supportive environments in their classrooms. Eye to Eye's student-led clubs' program offers a low-resource, high-scale alternative offering for high school and college students that are unable to access Eye to Eye’s traditional mentoring model. The program mobilizes young leaders in high school and college to tackle stigma and become change agents for an equitable educational system. Eye to Eye's technology innovations are currently underway to build a highly scalable, easy to adopt, and financially sustainable tool to help general educators in classrooms serve students who learn differently. Technology solutions will effectively address the most urgent and expensive unmet needs for schools when it comes to supporting middle school students who learn differently.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I discovered Eye 2 Eye when I was studying at The Pennsylvania State University, Main Campus. Because I was a a student part of the Student with Disabilities Resources Center, I was invited to become a Mentor. As a Mentor, I (and my fellow PSU students with LDs) would visit the middle school in State College and saw first hand how excited the Mentees were when we would arrive and how connected we became. Being "different" in middle school is hard, but having older students who have been through it and are thriving @ a well-respected university is such a positive experience for both Mentee & Mentors!!! I wish all school districts had Eye2Eye.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Eye to Eye is helping students, who were just like me, overcome learning challenges. As an adult who has experienced and continues to overcome these challenges... the organization is a source of inspiration for many people of all ages, gender and creed.

Donor

Rating: 5

My son was a high school student struggling with academics, stress and low self-esteem when our family was fortunate to become involved with Eye to Eye. He found a supportive community and mentor, which help him embrace his learning disabilities, recognizing his strengths instead of focusing on weaknesses. Eye to Eye gave him the power to believe in himself, his abilities and today he has taken those strategies and skills into a career working with middle school children. I couldn’t be more impressed with the programs and resources Eye to Eye provides to empower students, parents and educators.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Eye to Eye has impacted my life as an educator and a parent so much so that I'm not even sure where to begin! 13 years ago I was working for the Department of Education and began implementing Eye to Eye in school districts all over Wyoming. The success and hope this program gave to students, parents, and educators was much more than I could have ever imagined. We conducted a study of students with learning disabilities participating in Eye to Eye to students with learning disabilities not participating in Eye to Eye on the state assessment. The results were amazing!! The students participating in Eye to Eye improved their test scores from fall to spring at a rate so high that teachers and administration were shocked and wanting to know how to get more of their students involved in the program! Some of the college students that began mentoring were at risk of dropping out of college and ended up graduating and attributing much of their success to Eye to Eye. This program completely improved my role as an educator. As a state employee monitoring school districts for compliance of the IDEA, I became much more involved in each and every Individualized Education Program (IEP) I reviewed. I took the time to learn about the student and educate their teachers on how to better meet the needs of each student. Last year my son was diagnosed with ADHD. Even with all of my background in special education this was scary to both me and my son. The first thing I did was reach out to Eye to Eye folks and they helped my son understand that he has an entire community of people that also learn differently, they immediately became his support system. Currently I'm teaching pre-service teachers at a University, the courses I teach are Introduction to Special Education and Special Education Law. I borrowed some work from Eye to Eye's Learning Differently 101 Course and included it in my course room. The feedback I received was overwhelming. Some of my students said this was the first time they understood what a learning disability was and how important their role is once they have their own classrooms. Eye to Eye is part of my every day life and always will be, it's helped me become a better educator and parent!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Eye to Eye for over 10 years. I have watched the organization grow and expand its support and advocacy for people
who learn differently and am truly inspired by, and proud to support the groundbreaking and supportive work of this great nonprofit.

Donor

Rating: 5

An incredible organization working to create awareness and support of a very important cause!

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm extremely proud to be a long time donor of Eye to Eye because of the amazing empowering impact they have on so many kids (and their parents) across the country. So many awesome success stories of students who may otherwise have continued to struggle with their learning differences for the rest of their lives.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Eye to Eye completely opened my eyes to how I could work differently with my students and their parents as a special educator. Since I have been involved with Eye to Eye, I have an ease in talking with students and their parents about their learning differences. It is so very important for students with learning differences to understand their differences and accommodations and in turn embrace them, while self-advocating and sharing their story. Eye to Eye has afforded my students the opportunity to learn these skills and bond with people who are just like them. They learn they are not alone and can be very successful in life. I have seen real change with my students being comfortable to talk to their teachers and advocate. I am truly grateful to be involved in Eye to Eye, which has supported me to to be a the best special educator I can be.

Watching Eye to Eye grow and develop their program in the last 10 years has been amazing to watch. I have been blown away with the growth in the last few years and their commitment in helping to inspire, educate, advocate, and empower the LD community. They are truly trailblazers for the learning difference community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an educator for 4 decades, I have seen many programs come and go. I have witnessed the power of Eye to Eye first hand. They do exceptional work and I can say for a fact, that the students I have seen impacted by their work have been set up for a lifetime of success. So grateful this program exists.

Jesse S.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

By connecting me with the Learning Disability and ADHD community nationally through community service and leadership, Eye to Eye made a profound and positive impact on my life.

I've benefited greatly from the empowering paradigm Eye to Eye delivers to the LD/ADHD community. I've experienced firsthand the program's efficacy in improving the self-concept and mental health outcomes for both mentees and mentors as a volunteer and former employee.

I had the honor of helping scale their impact as one of Eye to Eye’s employees when I graduated from college. As the first in my family to work as a professional in the formal economy, working at Eye to Eye had a significant impact on the upward social mobility I've achieved. I believe deeply in Eye to Eye's mission, model, and people.

I came from humble beginnings, raised by a single parent mother in a low-income and transient household in Los Angeles.

As the first person in my family to graduate from high school, I stumbled through the public education system. I studied social science, leadership, and business in my local community college.

After finding my passion for social impact, I transferred to UC Berkeley to study sociology and public policy and founded the Berkeley Chapter of Eye to Eye.

Upon graduation, I moved to New York to work full-time as one of Eye's early National Program Coordinators. Since Eye to Eye, I went on to work in Learning and Development at Google and now have a successful career in Software startups.

Advisor

Rating: 5

My interaction with Eye to Eye was almost 20 years ago when I was at Brown University. I entered the organization as a student volunteer where I had the experience to witness first hand the power of being a mentor to someone in need. The ability to pass on what I learned as a student who struggled Learning Differences and who had figured out how to succeed. Almost ten years later, I was lucky enough to be chosen the artist in residency where I had the privilege to work with the new mentors. I was absolutely blown away by their candidness, honesty, and bravery. Eye To Eye is an organization with a simple goal, and that is helping those in need. The numbers don't lie, and it is clear that Eye To Eye is on the cutting edge of helping children with learning differences succeed no matter what the odds.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son found Eye to Eye's website five years ago when he was 13. He saw middle school, high school and college students talking proudly about their learning differences. He wanted to learn more and get engaged. Since then we have both volunteered with Eye to Eye. They empower different learners in so many ways - the impact is invaluable. Their model and efficacy is incredibly strong; their hearts are huge; the passion limitless. If you know a parent of someone who learns differently, introduce them to Eye to Eye - they will thank you for it! If you know teachers who want to learn more about how learning disabilities impact students, introduce them to Eye to Eye - they will thank you for it, too!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Why do I believe in Eye to Eye? Because I saw its transformational power up close. My son had the good fortune to participate as an Eye to Eye mentee in fifth grade. This experience helped him own his disability and honor his differences. His mentors were inspiring, fun, and caring. The curriculum was meaningful and relevant. My son continued as a mentee through middle school. I was beaming with pride the day he came home and announced he was going to start a chapter at his high school. He accomplished this with the incredible support of the Eye to Eye team. My son learned leadership, organization, and empathy as a mentor. I had such gratitude for my son's growth that I joined the Board so I could do my part to support Eye to Eye so other parents could also have this tremendous opportunity for their children.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Such a fantastic nonprofit that is getting creative and coming up with some super innovative ways to supper the millions of children who learn differently.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been a supporter of Eye to Eye for more than 10 years and a Board member for five of these years. This organization is determined to equitably serve our nation's LD students to assure they have access to the support and resources they need to be successful in their education and in their lives. I've never been more proud to be part of an organization - and look forward to the day when we are all able to understand, appreciate, support & celebrate the unique capabilities of each child.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Watching the growth and development of Eye to Eye has been a great joy. Their extraordinary programs provide struggling students with the information and inspiration that they need in order to reach their fullest potential.

Their emphasis on responsibility and resilience empowers students to face their challenges and invest themselves in overcoming their challenges.

Their message is clear:
“We’re not telling you it’s going to easy..... we’re telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

Ross B.2

Advisor

Rating: 5

I learned about Eye to Eye over 10 years ago when I was searching for resources for my learning disabled sons. I became actively involved and even ran a chapter myself when my local schools did not have the resources to do it. It is exciting to see the kids that were involved with the program who are now highly functioning adults. I know from first-hand experience what a difference this program has made in the lives of thousands of learning disabled students.

Elizabeth O.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My daughter would not be the empowered young woman she is today (and I would not have my doctorate!) without the nonprofit, eye to eye. My daughter spent two summers in eye to eye camp (2 different locations) and then became an eye to eye mentor in high school. During that time, I did a case study on eye to eye to show that a one week summer camp could empower the campers enough and arm them with the social emotional tools they needed to carry them through the following school year...and it did! I wholeheartedly recommend eye to eye to empower youth with learning differences!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern with Eye to Eye for 4 years. When I first discovered the organization, I had just been identified with dyslexia & ADHD at 18 years old. I felt lost & defeated. I thought my learning & attention issues were a huge deficit in my life. After just a few short weeks being embraced by the Eye to Eye community, I came to realize my learning & attention issues brought me many more strengths than struggles. Eye to Eye truly changed my life. This nonprofit has changed the lives of countless amounts of students & young adults. I feel honored to be a part of this amazing community.

Kara M.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a college student with ADHD, I know a lot of people understand my disorder to be embodied by that loud, impulsive class clown who probably was never on top of things academically, but that is not me; that is a stereotype based on a stigma.

Because February is #Strikeoutstigma month, I wanted to share just a little more depth about my experience with navigating life with a learning disability, and additionally featuring my take of what Eye to Eye has meant to me.

I always knew I learned differently, and at a different rate, but I had no idea how able I was! It’s been a long road of often taking a lot longer than my peers to master a skill, many repeated “could you explain that again please”s, unending grit, figuring out strategies to help myself understand things and learn, learning to not become discouraged when I ended up at the back of the pack, humbling myself enough to ask for help time and time again, and ultimately, self acceptance.

It would have been EXTREMELY easy for me to lose hope and motivation, to get lost in the shuffle, but I’ve made it further than I ever thought I possibly could, and it’s partially thanks to the support I’ve received from my family, friends, and teachers. Even before I got a diagnosis, a number of my teachers reached out to me, encouraging me to ask for help back when I wasn’t comfortable doing so, and giving me accommodations simply because they saw my potential and wanted to give me the tools I needed to succeed.

Although I had been recently diagnosed with my learning disability when I entered college, I didn't really understand what it meant and where it stood within my identity, and I felt rather alone. When I discovered that my university had a program called "Eye to Eye," which mentored younger students who have learning disabilities and did art projects with them, I was hooked! I loved art, and felt a mentoring experience would be enjoyable. I had no idea how much more than a partnership and literal art room Eye to Eye was.

Within my first semester, not only did I get to do fun art projects, but I became immersed in a community of people just like me. For the first time in my life, I met people just like me who had faced similar obstacles and continued to face similar obstacles but like me, found ways to persevere and really make it. We still to this day share our daily struggles of tackling college with learning disabilities and even exchange strategies for coping with our challenges, both socially as well as academically. These conversations are crucial to have and I have been blessed to not only share them with other mentors my age at Eye to Eye, but the mentees as well. They too are on their journey as LD students, and I have received extremely helpful tips and advice even from these kids who are nearly half my age! It has been a true breath of fresh air, and leaves me looking forward to attending art room each week.

Additionally, the mentees reminded me of a younger versions of myself and I longed to reach out to them and help them receive the community, support, and understanding that I had been lucky enough to receive in school. But even more, I wanted to be the role model for them that I had never had; proof to them that others with their diagnoses, who had faced their challenges, had truly succeeded and made it to an excellent, top ranked college.

Growing up, I often doubted my own potential because I never got to see people who I could identify with who would go on to do things like this- it seemed to me that everyone who got into top rank universities (like my life-long dream school and current school of attendance, UW-Madison) were top of their class, valedictorians who were probably involved in every student activity under the sun. It seemed so out of reach; a place not meant for people like me. Although I persevered through my challenges and made it to where I am today without such role models, I am so very proud to be a role model to offer hope and inspiration to the younger generation of brilliant students who learn differently.

So, looking back at my own journey, I am fervently passionate about striking out stigma and empowering the 1 in 5 who learn differently. It bothers me when people lament “ADHD is over diagnosed,” or “I wish I had some ADHD meds to get me through this paper.” Regardless of frequency of diagnosis, I believe it is crucial we reach out and support all those who learn differently and at different paces. Creating awareness and offering help to those who need it is a way to level the playing fields and help people like myself realize and seize their potential. I truly believe Eye to Eye is doing a tremendous job at doing all of these things. It both offers aid to people like me who have lived their lives learning differently, as well as the next generation who also lives this way, and finally, those who do not fall into these categories but need to be educated and made aware. I will forever be grateful for how Eye to Eye has offered me the opportunity to both serve others similar to me and find my identity with and among them as well (#LDProudToBe!) The more stories we share, the more we can understand and help each other and ourselves.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Eye to Eye is an amazing nonprofit. My first experience with their community was mere weeks into my freshman year of college. The bonds I made with my fellow mentors as well as my mentees helped to guide me throughout the rest of my time at the University of Pittsburgh.

Eye to Eye's program is based in the concept of leading by example. This meant that change and development was not only an outcome for mentee but mentors as well. Eye to Eye created an environment where I was not only proud to have dyslexia but I can see the strength in being a different thinker both in school and the office. Eye to Eye allowed us to create connection with middle schools in our area and start changing the conversation about what it means to have a learning disability for students, parents, and teachers. It was amazing the difference we saw in our middle school students over the course of a single year.

I am now in my sixth year as a member of the Eye to Eye community and it continues to provide support and encouragement to me as I move forward in my career. I look forward to remaining an active member of their community.

Comments ( 1 )

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EyetoEye 01/29/2018

Hi Mallory, Thanks for sharing your story! We appreciate all you have done as a member of our community! We look forward to many more years ahead! -Eye to Eye