ChangeMaker Finalist: Chelsea Elliott
Executive Director, half Helen Foundation
Chelsea learned the importance of health screenings when she was just four years old. After failing a vision screening at her daycare, Chelsea found out she was permanently blind in her left eye. Two years later, a failed hearing screening at her elementary school revealed that Chelsea was deaf in her right ear. In fourth grade, Chelsea learned about Helen Keller and surmised “I’m half-blind and half-deaf; I’m Half Helen”—a name that would come to characterize her life’s work.
Chelsea received her bachelor’s in Communication from St. Edward’s University with honors. When she graduated in 2013, Chelsea used her graduation money to found half Helen Foundation (hH), a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve children’s vision and hearing through innovative screenings, research, and advocacy. She is committed to providing high-quality, preventive health screenings in schools. As of December 2015, hH screened over 18,000 children in Hawaii and Texas!
Besides Hawaii, seven states still do not require vision or hearing screenings in schools, and none require the use of a photoscreening device. Chelsea is determined to change current laws so they allow the use of advanced photoscreening technology. In 2015, the CNN Heroes Program recognized Chelsea for her pioneering work in new eye screening methods.