Clinic Blog: 2012 Houston Clinic Blog
February 10, 2012
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!!!!!
February 5, 2012
So after a hard week of work, we finally reached the weekend. Many of us had plans to see museums, the Galleria, the zoo, or just to relax. The weather didn't exactly work out in our favor, but it did allow some of us to get lots of rest in order to gear up for next week. Some people went to Galveston, Texas...while others stayed back and saw the Museum of Fine Arts or the Arboretum. And of course, some people got lost in the hustle and bustle of the Galleria. We spent quality time getting to know our team mates, headed out to experience some of Houston's nightlife in Rice Village, and we tried different varieties of food and drink. Now everyone is watching the Superbowl! We had an amazing party spread and the game is going strong! Thank you again to all of our hospitality team for taking care of us while we travel around Houston, and for that late-night snack attack in the kitchen. Thanks guys! Get ready for tomorrow!!!
February 4, 2012
All right, so here are the entries from a few of the team members throughout the week. Due to some technical difficulties, I was not able to get the blog up and running until today. Now that it is working, stayed tuned!
January 31st, 2012
Nichole: I know everyone has their own individual stories about changing these kids lives, and we totally are, but I wanted to give a quick shout out to the parents of the kids of Houston that we’re seeing. All, and I mean all, of the kids we have seen in the past two days have been the most polite, well mannered kids I have ever seen. Seriously Houston, way to go. One little boy specifically today stood out. Shawn and I had both finished taking P.Ds at the same time on the kids before and one little boy remained, patiently in the waiting area. We said he could pick one of us to go to. Shawn joked that he should come over to him because he was awesome and cool. The little boy looked between the two of us and said “Ladies first.” Seriously adorable. I told him had great manners which earned me, of course, a “Thank you ma’am” .
Brittany: so today marks the first day that I have been able to construct a pair of glasses including the lenses within five mins…I am so proud! A huge thank you to Nick, Shawn, Chris, Lindsey, and Luke for all their help and patience while teaching me the ins and outs to getting lenses in plastic frames!!! My thumbs might hate you but I LOVE YOU!!!
February 1, 2012
Monafeitha Darbonne, Lead Coordinator: All of the Coordinators are so happy starting today we are able to send out team members to dispense eyewear to schools. It feels so wonderful to see the pictures and hear the passion in the voices of our team members as they talk about the children seeing clearly for the very first time.
Also, today we had an extra special surprise as Target OTL Michelle and her husband Shane joined us for the day. They DROVE 3 HOURS TO from Lafayette , La to Houston, Tx to give the gift of sight!!! Michelle is a teammember of the recent 2012 Atlanta regional clinic.
Louis Cipriano:“Choice”-15 year old-had a pair of black plastic glasses that were broken. Heated a needle to thread them back together- really impressed Louis by the fact that he is striving to be a mechanical engineer. Louis dispersed his glasses on Wednesday.
Brittany: dispersed glasses on Wednesday to three different schools, including Joule. Joule got onto my lap and said “cheese” to have her picture taken. The look on their faces that expressed their gratitude was amazing.
Lexi and Bobby: Zelsa- a fifteen year from Welch middle school had a hard time seeing the house in the auto refractor, her prescription was L 14.50 –1.00 . Legally blind in one eye, her old glasses were very loose when they broke. Her favorite subject is science. Has to sit in the front of her class. When she picked out her glasses she had to put them directly in front of her eyes to see the colors and prints, and her glasses will be dispersed next week.
Brittany: Chris from Northline prescription is: L –4.50 -1.25 , R –4.50 –1.00 . Can’t see the board in class so his teacher, Mr. Ritsema, allows him to sit behind his desk and use his laptop to see the lessons being taught. Really impressed me how creative his teacher was in allowing him to excel even with the difficulty of vision problems. I’m going to send a small note to his teacher thanking him for his commitment to each of his students.
February 2, 2012
Monafeitha: Super THANKS to Sunglass Hut Reg. 110 (San Antonio/Laredo)!!! OneSight Captain, Evie #4566, Genevieve #5181, Quique #5441 Macy’s, Samantha #5472 Macy’s drove 3 hours from San Antonio to support our clinic in Houston!!!! Special shout out to Sunglass Hut Regional Manager, Sergio Hernandez for your support and inspiration. Good Luck to San Antonio , TX as they host a Vision Van Feb 9-10.
Brittany: had a young man come in, he was six years old accompanied by his nurse. He ended up needing a fair prescription, but it was more his shyness that stood out to me. He did not speak English, so it was not easy to communicate without his translator. However, I followed him into the doctors lanes where I took a picture with him, and his shyness went away. He fell into me as we took the picture and basically gave me a hug. When he had to have his eyes dilated, he started crying because it stung. But as he quieted, I noticed a great tenderness between him and his nurse. The connection she had with him was so motherly even though she was simply his caretaker. It truly made my day to see her take care of him in a way that was so simple yet so strong. He was definitely one of the standouts to me and the rest of the team.
HUGE thank you again to the City of Denver Health and Human Services! Working with them has been a most rewarding experience!!!!
Numbers from this week:
Monday: 238 children
Tueseday: 283 children
Wednesday: 317 children
Thursday: 303 children
Friday: 350 children
TOTAL IN FIRST WEEK: 1491 CHILDREN SEEN!!!!!!!
OKAY!!!! Lots of information from the first week! SORRY IT TOOK SO LONG! But now that it is working, I will be updating each day with a little more details in the stories as well as from different people. What I would like to say now is that the tenacity from the lab members from both labs is absolutely incredible. Even right now, on Saturday, when the core members are relaxing and cruising around the city, there are clinic members who are working hard back at the labs to finish all of the jobs from the first week. TALK ABOUT DEDICATION! Working as long as it takes to ensure each child is given the gift of sight, they slave over the machines and assemble each pair with finesse and care. Thank you to everyone who continues their hard work today!!!
Alrighty guys! Enjoy your weekend and please be safe!!!! Can’t wait to see you guys all together bright and early Monday morning! GOOSEBUMPS!!!!
January 30, 2012
January 30th, 2012-
Well, it begins. Houston 2012 OneSight Mission…something we have all been waiting for and something we are proud to support. Putting glasses on kids and watching their faces light up when they can see the leaves on the trees outside or the intricacy of a butterfly’s wing…what could be better?
Since today was our first day, the hustle and bustle, confusion, and excitement left its mark on all of us…everywhere you went you saw half guzzled cans of Mountain Dew and Jason’s Deli lunch boxes strewn all over (huge thank you to our hospitality team by the way). The remnants of the ten-minute breaks of everyone involved…all of who were hard pressed to leave their stations to simply grab a sandwich or a bottle of water. The noise of laughter and squeaky tennis shoes, the anxious looks on the eyes of the children coming from the tonometry station (the “air puff” test), and the sound of the edging machines cutting lenses were something we all experienced at some point today. It was quite eye opening; especially for those who are on their first clinic. There were a few moments of tears (at least from me), and countless moments of clarity for many of the team members. Let me share the one that stood out to me the most, and the other members of the clinic will share their personal “ah-ha” moments as the two weeks progress.
I was working in the auto refractory lab today. My experience with Luxottica has been Sunglass Hut, so anything having to do with optics or lenses was foreign to me, but I was really excited to learn a new skill with the refractory machines. About an hour after the first bus of kids arrived, a little girl walked into our room. A very small girl…she was only about three feet high. Her name was Joule. To be auto refracted, it is very important to keep still, but since little Joule had to teeter on her knees in a chair, Aleesia was having a very difficult time running the test. So to make it easy on all involved, I came around, grabbed Joule, and placed her on my lap while my hands kept her head from bobbing too much. It still took a second to get the test correct, but she kept so still and was so at peace letting me hold her that it touched my heart. When we were finished we found her prescription to be this: R: –6.12, -0.25 L: -8.75, -0.75. No wonder she had a hard time not moving her head…the little house you are supposed to see in the viewer was no more than a blob to her!!! Knowing that this little girl was walking away from our clinic with the tools to truly “see” her world made me realize how much I take for granted my own 20/20 vision. GOOSEBUMPS!!!
I know today was supposed to be a blog simply stating what OneSight is doing for children and adults all over the world…however I could not NOT share this story with you. Stay tuned to the Houston 2012 blog to hear other amazing stories from other team members and myself over the next two weeks!!
P.S- pictures to come…must find USB cord first!!!
January 22, 2012
What up y'all!!! First blog of our mission...started a week before! I personally am super stoked...i bought all of my mini travel bottles of junk today! Kinda makes it hit home that we literally have only a week till we all meet! Let me start out by saying how excited I am to meet everyone and how nervous I am as well! But those butterflies will only get worse when I board the plane for Houston...then its GO TIME!! Lets make sure we are all making our final preparations for our trip. Fundraise your butts off! Family, friends, best customers...share your passion with them and they WILL give to the cause, especially if they know they are helping you. Make sure you are packing correctly, like they said, bring essentials in your carry on...NO SUNGLASSES IN YOUR CHECKED BAGGAGE! That would be an awful way to start out our trip if you don't have your favorite Raybans or Bvlgaris. Keeping it short today...everybody have a great week and I will see you soon!!!
About the Clinic
2012 Houston Clinic Blog Clinic
A team of OneSight volunteers and doctors, in partnership with local agencies, will provide free vision care and eyewear to children in need.