It was 3 years ago that I agreed to do a build project in the Dominican Republic with the Samaritan Foundation. After submitting my information, the organization asked if I could/would be willing to work with the group that was distributing glasses to the communities. What started as a regular build project turned into the first Team Licensed Optician outreach which equipped a clinic, trained staff and conducted 2 community clinics. Last year, Bryan Todd, of Todd Vision Centre, and myself continued the outreach in Malawi, Africa where we assessed and dispensed to over 900 people in just over 2 weeks. It was life changing for the people we cared for and our team.
This year, Team Licensed Optician is happening again, as we partner with PAN missions and their annual medical team trip to Nicaragua and El Salvador. For 2 weeks at the end of November, I will be joined by Mary Krebs of FYidoctors in Dutton, ON and Mabel Prempeh, a recent graduate of Seneca College for the next Team Licensed Optician outreach. We are very excited as this will be another opportunity to equip a clinic and train staff for a long term clinic as well as doing remote assessments in outlying villages.
PAN missions is extremely excited about this partnership. They have been working in Nicaragua for over 20 years and this is the first time they have had the offer of eye care professionals. It is a terrific opportunity for us to educated everyone about healthy eyes, good sight and the role of Opticians in eye care
Over the next few months we will be gathering supplies and glasses to take with us. We would appreciate support from our professional community. I am grateful that the Ontario Opticians Association and the Opticians Association of Canada have both endorsed this project and donated $600 each for our work. This is a great start but there is still a lot to prepare. How can you help? We need nose pads, screws, tools for adjustment and repairs, a desktop auto-refractor(small and used), an auto lensometer, a Ultra sonic cleaner, and flat eyeglass cases. If you have any of these in your office that can be donated, it will be appreciated and put to good use. Of course, we need to bring glasses and it is our hope that they are mostly new. If you have old stock of frames and can get your local lab to put new lenses in that would be wonderful. Single vision between powers +/-5.00 are most needed. If you have donated glasses that are only gently used, we can take them, as long as they have been cleaned, with nosepads replaced and neutralized. Finally we need monetary donations. We need to buy some supplies, pay for extra luggage weight and have a fund for local emergencies or referrals. Many people and companies have already come forward with donations and supplies including Plastics Plus, Ronit Furst, Personal Optical, Prism Optical and Ronar. All donations will be issued a tax receipt from PAN missions. What can you do? Donate supplies or money to assist this project. You can put up a donation jar at your front counter and ask for small donations for all the adjustments and repairs that you usually do for free. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and we will be documenting the whole journey at a blog http://visionoutreach2017.blogspot.com.
Here we go out into the world again!