Clinic Blog: 2011 Richmond Clinic Blog
October 17, 2011
Observations from the First Day
Monday, October 17, 2011
This morning started with breakfast at the hotel and everyone seemed excited and raring to go. After the short bus trip to the Arthur Ashe Convention Center with our infamous bus driver “Mr. Tuna”, Darla led us on a tour of the various optical stations in the gymnasium.
After training at our individual stations, we had a few minutes to converse and continue getting to know each other. All the different brands talked about various occurrences within their respective fields. The optical people at our brands know their business!! Since I consider myself a sheltered I.T. person at the CSC, it was refreshing to hear different buzzwords and learn what they meant.
Thanks to the Cycle of Sight and Hometown Days programs for helping train the Luxottica employees so that we could successfully conduct eye exams, stereopsis and color blindness testing.
A HUGE thanks to the supporters that came out today and to the ones who donated food and water. In some cases, volunteers gave one of their personal days to come out and assist. We met lots of wonderful people who called Richmond home.
Some comments from today:
Bob Fruth, promoter with Body By Vi, first time volunteer, expressed to me how rewarding it is to be helping the community. I heard that sentiment echoed a few times today.
Renee, U.S. Program Director, Children Incorporated, also a first time volunteer said that her first impression was how enthusiastic the volunteers were and how everyone was totally behind the project. “You could feel the energy in the room.” Children Incorporated is a non-profit organization that partnered with OneSight on this endeavor. They assist children in the U.S. and abroad with basic and education related needs. She was also impressed at how well behaved the kids were and how smoothly everything was progressing. She noticed that the kids were intrigued with each station as they were visiting them.
Kathy, CFO, Children Incorporated noted “It’s a different experience from working on spreadsheets all day.” She was impressed about how well organized everything was.
A few of us began to realize that our jobs ran deeper than just giving eye exams. We discovered a lot of students that needed help at the color blindness testing station. In order to successfully perform our jobs, we had to determine whether the students were color blind or whether they did not know their numbers or whether they just couldn’t see the numbers behind the dots at all. We are doing something more than helping the world to see. We are making a difference in the lives of children and, in some cases, tremendously impacting their futures. Bob Fruth discovered a child who seemed to be dyslexic and informed the nurse that was with him who asked the child’s mother to get him tested.
Sarkis, has participated in Ride for Sight, Eye Run and Hometown Days. I was amazed at how many different programs OneSight is involved in. He said the experience was “very humbling and eye-opening”. One thing he noticed is that he would have thought all kids in this day and age would know about 3-D technology. When working at the stereopsis station, he found children that didn’t understand about the 3-D pictures.
Justin and Terri Echague are both Optometrists who recently opened a practice in Virginia Beach. They drove up here to volunteer for the day with their 20 month old son Ethan. Terri, originally from Jamaica, thought this was a great opportunity to serve the community. Even though she has participated in other programs overseas, she and her husband wanted to get involved with something locally with OneSight.
Jen, SGH, has volunteered for 3 years and has been on a previous mission to Fishkill, NY. They had the Eyeleen van and it twice visited each of 5 different camps. She describes it as an “awesome experience . . . It was really cool to interact with different kids and to help them is amazing”. Jen views it as her chance to give back and describes it as “heartwarming to see these kids light up” when they received their glasses.
James, volunteer, Richmond SGH, said that he likes serving his community, his customers and his future customers.
Allison, who after 12 International missions was participating in her first Regional mission, said that the flow and stations are different than the International missions. She said the best part of being on a Regional mission is there is not a language barrier, so communication is easier since you don’t have to go through an interpreter. It was nice to really communicate with the kids. She advises mission newbies to “keep your heart open for new experiences” . . . you’ll find them.
Jen Ortiz, SGH, volunteer, said of her experience in visual acuity that the kids think it isn’t okay to miss a letter or two. She lets them know it isn’t a test, that it’s okay and that we are here to help them.
Frederick, SGH, volunteer, said of his first experience, “It is heart touching and breaks your heart. Some kids make up letters to get it right”.
Jessica, Planning Coordinator for Richmond, has been on 3 missions – 2 regional, 1 global. They start planning for Richmond in January. She gives a lot of kudos to the volunteers. I thought that was interesting because the volunteers are giving kudos back to the Richmond Planning Team for its organization. So pats on the back all the way around!! The art project makes it more fun for the kids.
Russell, our Photography Captain, has assisted on a couple of vision vans.
Tara from the EyeVan, said “that it is most rewarding to get to see the really hard prescriptions” while making lenses in the van. She was impressed that the kind of technology needed to produce these types of prescriptions are available on a mobile van.
In response to the question “What do you see”, one of the kids stated the obvious “I see dots”! Duh, Big Red Truck, Tina!
A few people noted that one child, Brianna, had major vision issues and had been having difficulty in class. Brianna said of herself “One thing I can’t do is see”. She also had issues at the color blindness testing station.
Once everything is turned off in EyeVan and everything is locked, we were ready for Darla’s debriefing. She said we did a good job helping each other when our stations were closing down.
Tonight we were treated to a wonderful Italian dinner in Short Pump. The Richmond team definitely knows how to treat us well!!
Afterward, we met in the “Hospitality Room” to relax from the day. Greg Hare surprised us by stopping in with his wife and baby and congratulated us on a successful first day.