Clinic Blog: 2012 Houston Clinic Blog
February 10, 2012
This is truly why we are here. This is exactly why we do what we do.
February 9th, 2012
Ahhh…alas. The last night has arrived. Its been an amazing ride. We have been here for two weeks and seen so many children and met so many incredibly people. I have had the privelage of working in almost every station in our clinic…auto refraction, tenometry, frame selection, doctors lanes and dilation, and the indoor lab. Let me just say…the people I’ve met on the clinic are people that have truly changed me. They have been an inspiration to all of us, and we are so incredibly thankful for them. But we are forgetting someone…the babies. The children are the reason we are here, and I think the kids have taught us more about ourselves and truly being selfless than anyone else ever could. There are always the hard cases…making someone cry in tenometry when they are not expecting the air puff test, telling a child they cannot have the frame they want because it will not hold their prescription. But then there are the moments, even in the most simplistic form, that remind us that we are appreciated and that we have made a difference. Here are a few of the stories from clinic volunteers that we have heard.
Had the honor of going on a dispensing team….for those of you that haven’t been on one ,this is the process in where we go to the schools to deliver and fit the childrens new glasses to them, many for the first time ever.
Young lady with curls tight on her head came in to the office we were dispensing out of , her name was Jayln. Jayln took of the frames she had on and put her new square gray gradient frames and opened her eyes wide and said “Wow I see so clearly now!!!” I smiled wide and said “YAY… So has your prescrition changed much from the glasses you were wearing?” in which she responded “Oh.. these are not mine, they are my moms” “your wearing your moms glasses?” “ yeah” “ much better to have your own n own isn’t it?” with a HUGE smile she said “yes, this makes me happy” we wrapped up the adjustment and made sure she knew she needs to wear her own glasses. All in all, an amazing day.
There was a young girl named Zelsa who came in for glasses. After the preliminary script readings, we discovered that she was blind in one eye and a –15 in the other. Basically, her sight was about as bad as it can get without being completely blind. While talking to her, we found out her favorite subject in school was science, and that she sits in the front of the class in order to be able to see the board. We also noticed that when she walked or talked to anyone, she averted their eyes and looked down at her feet. After pondering this, we attributed it to not being able to see. She had glasses at one point, but they had become lose and had broken, so she was going through school and life without the ability to see the faces of her family or the lessons on the chalkboard. The OneSight clinic was able to make two pairs of glasses for her, and when they were dispensed, Zelsa was still her shy self…but now we imagine that her confidence will start to grow when she realizes that the world is more beautiful than she could see, and that she has nothing to look at the ground for now.
~Lexi and Bobby
On Tuesday, I was working in the tenometry lab for the first time. I was definitely apprehensive because of the fact that it involves having kids stare into a machine that puffs air into their eyes to check for any pressure. Most of the kids, expectedly, don’t like it. I was about two hours into it when a young girl walked in named Ri’Naya. She was six years old, and looked right into the machine as I tried to explain to her what was going to happen. As soon as the first eye was done, I knew I was in trouble. Tears filled her eyes and I waited for the wailing to begin. So to make her feel better, I walked around the table and picked her up. And held her. Just held her. From that moment on, she clung to me like clue. I walked around with her telling her what a big brave girl she was, and eventually I was able to finish the test. I was also able to help her in the doctors lanes where they handed down her final prescription, and helped her pick out a beautiful pair of pink and orange glasses. She will forever stand out in my mind because of how her eyes lit up when I came back to her in the doctors lanes. And although I may have helped her get new glasses, she helped me even more. I realized that day that if I could help even one child see, all of the hard work has been worth it.
At Dechaumbs Elementary, Matthew and I were dispensing about 70 pairs of glasses to the children. We each had a child that we especially bonded with that we were looking forward to seeing again. As soon as Matthew’s little one came in, his whole face lit up. His name was Steven. Matthew gave him his glasses, adjusted them, and gave him his case. Not once did I see Steven lose the smile on his face. It was amazing. When my little one came up, Phillip, I ran to him and he gave me a huge hug. Never have I felt more important in a child’s life than I did in that moment. But the most amazing part came from a little boy named Reyli. He was about six years old, and we all remembered him because of his infectious happiness. He was just so cute! I remember seeing him, but it was Andy who helped him through most of the process. And the best part?? I asked Reyli if he remembered me, and he said yes. Then he said “But where is Andy?”. Tears filled my eyes as I realized that these children not only want us to be there, they even remember our names. I told Andy as soon as I got back, and tears filled his eyes too. Such a huge impression for such a little boy.
~Brittany and Matthew
So today, we saw about 228 children, a fairly light day for us. Tomorrow we see about 130 and then we start packing up. Its bittersweet…we have all been away from our jobs, families, and friends, and I can tell everyone is so excited to get home. But we all feel as though we are leaving a family here too…because we are. Even those who worked on Eyevan or on the inside lab and didn’t get a lot of experience with the rest of the clinic volunteers are members of our family. We have all made lifelong friends while we’ve been here and no one will ever forget that. We have so many people to thank for taking care of all of us, but I’m gonna thank a few people who have helped me personally along the way.
First and foremost…Melissa, Nissa, and Monafeitha. Our clinic coordinators. Amazing women without whom we would have been running around like monkeys. Thank you ladies for all of your kind words, direction, and opportunity. We will never forget it.
Cindy and MaryBeth, our leading hospitality ladies. These are the angels who made sure we were fed, healthy, and happy. They coordinated all of our meals (which were amazing by the way), offered us midnight snacks (the cupcakes were awesome!), made hot tea for those of us who were a little under the weather, and basically kept our spirits up when the days work before exhausted us beyond recognition. Thank you to you guys…WE LOVE YOU!!!!
Nick, Dexter, Tara, Chris, Shawn, and Dawn-I don’t know exactly which of them were lead coordinators and which were not, but to me these guys taught me all of the technical knowledge in the lab. Nick…Canada rocks. Thank you so much. Dexter…thank you for the sweet words you said to me about dilating the children. Tara…thank you for your patience on the van when I was learning the polishing table. Chris…thanks for the pep talks and lens-popping-ins that you did for me. Dawn…you’re the best at everything in the lab and I learned so much from you. Shawn…pretty sure you were the one who got me through those interesting first few days with the edger and all of that. Thank you : )
Lynsey- you told me I was awesome at edging. No idea how much that meant to me at the moment. You rock girl. Thanks for helping me keep my cool when I felt like I was slowing the team down. Most of my confidence came from you.
We also have many vendors and contributors to thank, but I will provide a list at a later time for that.
Now we move to the silent auction and our pinning ceremony. Our silent auction was put together by Matthew, Andy, Carol, and Leslie. They had so many wonderful items up for bid, including Tiffany sunglasses, a custom OneSight teddy bear named Eyevan, and various other items. We all had a great time listening to the live auction, bidding ferociously for items we really wanted (that was definitely me), and getting to know all of the people that came in from the community and nearby stores. We met so many amazing people at the event and made some great memories. After all was said and done, they raised $4909 all in the name of OneSight! And that doesn’t even include our raffle! Great job guys! If anyone would like to make a donation to our clinic it is still possible! Just head to www.onesight.org and click on Houston 2012.
Our pinning ceremony was tonight. From what I’ve heard, this is usually the most emotional part about the clinic because it is the last full night we all have together. We sat down to a wonderful meal at Pappacitos and then shared a few words thanking our captains and coordinators as well as expressing how much this clinic has meant to all of those involved. We each received a special pin to commemorate our clinic and we took the time to take lots of pictures and thank each and every person for their commitment and passion to OneSight. It was an amazing night, and yes, I did tear up a little : )
And we come to the end of our clinic. I will be making one or two more posts about the things I have brought back personally from my experiences here in Houston, as well as making sure we have a complete vendor list to thank those who contributed to our cause. Thanks for reading guys. And please remember…this is my first blog! Ahhhhh! So any constructive criticism would be much appreciated (just email me!) Thanks guys! WE LOVE HOUSTON!!! GOOSEBUMPS!!!!!