Clinic Blog: 2012 Richmond Clinic Blog 2
December 7, 2012
It's our last day at clinic and as our bus pulled away from hotel this morning, it kind of hits you that this is the last time we're going to clinic. We have had such a great time here with the kids and making a difference. We worked as a team immediately. Everyone always pitched in to help. If your station was done, people automatically looked to places that could use help. It was this great team work that allowed us to see a total of 921 kids and make glasses for 756 of them!!!! 82% of the kids we saw needed glasses!
I'm sitting in the back room our of clinic writing down these last, but certainly not final thoughts, from this clinic. The children have gone back to school. The only sounds left are those from the lab edging the lenses. A real sense of sadness has come over me. Waking up in the morning, knowing I will make a difference in a child's life is a great experience. Come Monday, we will be back to reality. In the beginning of our clinic, Darla talked about how this experience will grow your heart. It's certainly the best way we can describe that. Our team will leave here with a piece of Richmond in our hearts, and thus our hearts are a little bit bigger for it. For those who haven't experienced a clinic such as OneSight, it really is hard to put into words the emotion it creates inside you. Last night at our team dinner we had the opportunity to speak about our experiences and share our stories...almost all stories created tears of joy. Especially those who have experienced seeing the world through glasses for the first time, you know what an amazing and memorable experience this is. When a child puts on their glasses for the first time their reactions can vary...sometimes it's a smile that is as big as can be, other times they look around almost scared because they are trying to digest this new world that literally just changed before their eyes, others have even more reaction by making what I call the Home Alone face (placing their hands on their cheeks and mouth open)...but either way, you've be a part of changing their world.
We were so fortunate to have a great team of volunteers, especially those from BAMM Lions Club and J. Sargeant Reynolds Opticianry. Our clinic could not have run as smoothly without you! Also, thank you to those family, friends and co-workers who picked up extra duties back home and at work so we could have this experience.
OneSight clinics are announced in December each year. Many of us found out in December of 2011 that we were attending this clinic. It feels like it took forever to get here…and this week went by so fast. It is exciting to know though when we get back Tuesday the 11th is OneSight Day, where we will find out if we get to be a part of such a wonderfully rewarding experience again. Best of luck to those who applied and hopefully I will see some of you next year!!!!
December 7, 2012
Being on a OneSight mission is an extremely rewarding experience. We know we directly affect the lives of those who visit our clinic but we forget that this can create a chain reaction. Those kids we see have family and friends who share their stories. Occasionally (and thankfully) this chain reaction comes full circle as we encountered several examples during this mission. Our first story came from Mr. Van who volunteers his time to bus the children to and from the clinic. After clinic he was running some errands and wearing his OneSight shirt. A lady stopped him and asked him if he was connected to OneSight. He told her his connection with OneSight and she explained to him that her children had received glasses from OneSight and thanked him for his help. Day 4 provided many more stories of how what we are doing goes beyond these four walls. Yes we know it will help children do better in school, have greater confidence and healthier lives, but we sometimes don’t really realize the ripple effect this can cause. It’s amazing how stories can come to us in so many different ways:
After a busy day at Clinic it was time to kick back and relax at TJI Fridays for dinner. We were a large party of very tired people who were on autopilot. There was one table of 13 and a server call Gloria who was determined to help us have a great time. She was happy to answer all our questions and then once our order was placed asked who we were and what we were doing. Once it was explained that we were from all corners of the States and doing a One Sight mission she was quite emotional. She had had help from the organization for her children and couldn’t believe she was able to thank us. ………The story doesn’t finish there. Darla and Leona went to settle the bill and they started talking to Gloria. They found out that she was a single mother with a young son that has eyewear needs. They invited her to come to clinic with him but unfortunately she was unable to bring him. Darla suggested that Gloria call her so that an appointment can be set up for this young man in the store using our One Sight program. It just proves that we are never off duty and that there is no limit to the people we can help. One Sight is bigger than all of us. Why did we go to TJI Fridays and why was Gloria our server?--Gaelie Pringle Lenscrafters Store 5634
Today we also had many inspiring stories from our team members:
Today I had the honor and privilege to represent OneSight and become a life-changer. Giving children the gift of seeing well with glasses is going to change their lives. I dispensed glasses in 4 schools this morning to children who had been to our clinic earlier this week. The children were very excited and appreciative of their beautiful new glasses, and to see the amazement on their faces by their ability to see better was priceless. I met Antoinette, a 7th grader, with a -13 prescription that walked in not wearing glasses. She now has 2 brand new pairs, and the world past a few inches from her eyes, is now clear. There were very appreciative teachers and nurses who commented on their excitement that these children will start getting better grades. One child commented that they “now would be able to see when they walk down the hall”. In closing, I was fortunate to see the twins, Jaylah and Jenia, who I spent time with in the clinic two days prior. They both ran to me for hugs when they saw me and they couldn’t wait to get their new glasses. These glasses were their first pairs ever, and they had a very strong need for correction. They also had eyes which turned inward. In each case, as soon as I put the glasses on their faces, their eyes straightened up, and their smiles were as big as possible. This is what OneSight is about. Changing lives.—Craig Alter
Today my assignment was on lensometry and PD’s. Early in the day I was introduced to a 7th grade student named Saki from the Thompson school. He would be lost without glasses and I was glad to be providing him with a brand new updated pair of eyeglasses so he could see his best with an Rx of over -14.00.
Another student named Breyona told her classmate Makhail that the pupilometer caused “no eye burn’, as they had just finished with the tonometer testing.
While I was waiting for the next student to have a PD taken I noticed little Keyvonia was nervous to have her pressures checked. As I was assisting to hold her head for the proper readings she asked if she could hold my hand so she could overcome her fears of the “air puff” machine. I was glad to assist.
My final surprise did not come from a student but a surprise visitor by the name of Emily King. She was the “Trolley Lady” who gave us a guided tour of Richmond on our free night Tuesday. I was “tickled pink” to give her a guided tour of the clinic. She was amazed of the production team and the Eyevan lab. Her husband is a local ophthalmologist. What a wonderful day.-- Matt St Germain, Pearle Vision 6449
Another amazing day with many children who needed OneSight more than they could even know. While I was auto refracting today I heard a little screaming and crying at the dilation area. Several attempts were made by several people to put the drops in without success for a little 5 year old girl. When the little girl came over for auto refraction she walked up to me and put her head on my shoulder and started to cry and said “I want to go home”. Many attempts were made by me and others to with no success to auto refract her. I went on to frame selection and along comes the my “little girl” with a rx for a +8.00. It all makes sense now why she was so scared. Another life changed by OneSight. Thank you everyone who supports such a magnificent organization!--Heidi Kendall LensCrafters #287
Each day never ceases to amaze me with all the blessings OneSight gives to so many children. Today, I was fortunate enough to be at frame select. In this area, I was the first to see the expressions on each child when they selected their new prescription eyewear. To me, this is such an important part because it sets the stage of if or when they will wear their glasses. When the child loves their frame, then they will love seeing the results of the prescription and this means better grades in school, better behavioral, more confidence, and better everyday life.--Cindy Baum, Sears Optical #633
Tyla also shared with me how a little boy was so excited to get his glasses, he informed her "I'm getting some glasses today! Boo-yah!!" How can you not love his enthusiasm?!
As a first time full week clinic member, I got the exciting assignment of being able to help dispense glasses to the children. After making the glasses here on site, we go out the next day or 2 to their schools to deliver their glasses. One memorable little guy was Malachi who demonstrated to us that when he takes off his glasses, everything is blurry (then puts them on) and “everything looks much better”. Then upon his leaving the nurses office, he tells the other students how great this is; “They give you glasses, give you wipes, take your picture and send you off!” Another memorable moment for me was when 6 year old Jasmine came in. I had seen her yesterday and put drops in her eyes. She was so excited to get drops and kept begging me to come do her drops next. I let her know she had to wait her turn, then I finally got to her and she was not a happy camper after the first drop and it took a bit of encouragement to get the 2nd one. I was a little worried she would remember me (hoping I didn’t scar her memory with these drops) but she was so excited to get her glasses!!! She didn’t even remember me as the drop lady (phew!). Jasmine listened intently about her glasses and the cleaning instructions. After Carolyn adjusted her glasses Jasmine asked Carolyn: “Can I take them home?” Yes, Carolyn informed her. Excited with this answer Jasmine then asked “Can I take them EVERYWHERE?”. Yes you can! “But I have to take care of them right?”
At another school I encountered John, 11 years old with a -9.50 in the right eye and -9.00 in the left. He was so excited about his glasses, his had been broken for a long time and his teacher came with him for his fitting. She told us how excited he was and he was telling everyone what his glasses looked like. He put them on and his face just lit up and informed us, “I see so well, it’s like I have magnifying glasses on!” Wearing his new glasses he let us know that we can call him Professor John. It was so heartwarming because you knew how excited and what a difference these glasses would make in his life.
As of today we have seen 799 students! 84% of them needing eyewear. 84%! It’s so wonderful we are able to help these children!
December 7, 2012
It’s exciting to be on a clinic and placed outside your comfort zone, especially for those of us who do not have store experience and all the stations are really outside of what we do in our day-to-day routines. Every station provides an experience I normally would not be exposed to except here on a OneSight clinic. Yesterday I did tonometry….today I was assigned to drops. Apparently the 2 least exciting stations….and for decent reasons….people don’t enjoy puffs of air in their eyes, or drops to help their eyes dilate. However all these things are important for the health of your eyes and for some kids, this is their first eye exam or sometimes the only one they receive. The majority of kids were fine with the drops, yes it stings a little bit, but overall the children were very cooperative. I had a few that walked over in tears because they were worried this was the drop station. Not an easy task to get the kids to trust you when they are in tears before they even sit down. However patience, encouraging words, and seeing that having these drops in your eyes isn’t as bad as you had imagined, allowed the kids to trust me to put the drops in their eyes. Part of a successful volunteer is being able to overcome these challenges, which some of our team members encountered today:
I worked in tonometry today. We had a little girl, who came through very afraid of the tonometer. She saw the kids in front of her and how they responded to the test. By the time it was her turn, she was very nervous. We (me, Shana and the aid) talked to her to calm her down before the test. We were able to get the first reading immediately, however, it was quite a challenge to get the other one done. I thought I would just make a note on her file to let the doctor know we were unable to get the second reading. After encouraging her more, she relaxed and we were able to get the second reading. We cheered. She looked so proud that she had overcome her fear of the machine. She walked away smiling.--Deborah Thompson, CSC
Even though we have all encountered challenges, there are so many more positive experiences that outweigh the more difficult ones:
Today I was dispensing eyewear, and at one high school, there was a boy who was so excited that he had new eyeglasses that he couldn’t keep the smile off of his face. He was trying to play it cool in front of his friends, but as soon as he turned away from them he had the biggest smile, and genuinely thanked us for the glasses. At a different high school, there was another girl with an extremely high rx. She had been without glasses for a month and when she put them on she literally gasped. I can only imagine what difference it was making with her world.--Tyla Girouard Licensed Optician
I was able to take a team out today to dispense glasses to schools. One of the last schools we visited we had 2 young ladies in kindergarten that were already wearing glasses from last year. When they saw their new glasses on their face they grinned from one side to another. The school principal had to come in to see what the excitement was. They were the most appreciated in getting glasses, 1 was very special because she received more than 1 pair because of her very high prescription she wears. She could not decide which one to wear because she loved them both. What a great feeling leaving and knowing what great things we do to give sight to those around us.-- Leslie DeWalt- Clinic Coordinator, Lenscrafters
Spending time standing in lines and being put through a variety of eye tests, is not something that generally makes people smile. However, 8 year old Kiyasha, was all smiles on Wednesday. She lost her old glasses just the day before coming to our OneSight clinic. Shauna McNally and I had the pleasure of seeing her constant smiles and fun demeanor throughout this day. Kiyasha was even smiling and giggling as uncomfortable puffs of air were going into her eyes. We saw her huge grin while a doctor was shining a bright line in her eyes. When it was time to pick out her pair of frames, she decided to put down the pair of blue frames she loved and start looking for something like her dad wore. She ended up with the cutest pair of black frames that fit her perfectly and she said “I like these because they look like my dad”. We were touched again by Kiyasha’s spirit and it was our best memory of today.-- Craig Alter
Also, Krista wanted to give a shout out to team Richmond:
Working in production can be hard because it is very technical. This can be intimidating for people who don’t work in the lab. In clinic, I have seen and worked with the kids coming through and when they are done around 2 pm or so, the clinic doesn’t stop there. We stay on sight, continuing to manufacture the eyewear for the kids so we can deliver them in a couple of days. What has amazed me the most is how our team is not afraid to try new things. When their eye exam station is finished for the day, we have numerous team members coming over to production and asking what they can do to help. They have been taught how to manufacture, cut and complete a pair of glasses. This type of team work is absolutely amazing. Without the extra help from the team, the kids would not be able to get the kid’s glasses completed. The team’s dedication to the kids is really seen and felt, even after the kids have left.--Krista Bergson, Lead Lab Technician, Lenscrafters Canada
Tonight our team also had an auction to raise money for OneSight. We are fortunate to have a great partner, Matt Farrior, a former NFL player, make a significant contribution to help raise funds. We began with a silent auction, allowing members to get their competive juices flowing for the live auction. At the end of the night we raised over $2,800!!!!!
We had another busy day, seeing over 250 kids, with 85% of those needing glasses! What another truly touching day of help Richmond see!!!! I can’t believe the clinic is halfway over!
December 4, 2012
As overwhelming as it initially seems to a clinic member learning all the stations, we might forget how overwhelming this can be to the children going through the stations! We were reminded of this today when a little boy reached the 6th station, the pupilometer. Upon his arrival, he informed Tyla, "boy there sure are a lot of stations". Being on a clinic we are able to rotate stations thus allowing the opportunity to create moments in a variety of ways. Today I was on the tonometer (used to check for glaucoma) when I encountered a memorable girl. Baiyianah cheerfully sat down in the chair (which is sometimes unusual at this station as having a puff of air in your eye seems to be something no one enjoys… I'm sure this includes many of you as well) and ended up having a really high reading (average of 26 in the right eye and an average reading of 25 in the left eye). This could be caused by a couple different things, including if the child holds their breath while having the test done, causing their blood pressure to increase, thus having an increased reading. However it gives the doctors a warning to check this during their exam. Having glaucoma at this young age going undetected can lead to a loss of their peripheral vision.
Today we had 2 girls Jena & Jaylah, who informed us that they were not only friends…and not only sisters, but twins. They came in all excited because it was glasses day, because they knew they needed glasses. Their journey through the stations created moments for Craig and Heidi:
Two twin, 3rd grade girls (Jaylah and Jena), came to see me at visual acuities, and I could tell by just looking at them that they weren’t seeing well when walking and looking around. They would end up struggling through many of the eye tests this day. Their eyes would sometimes turn inward and they seemed shy and quiet. I walked them into and out of the doctor exam area and over to pick out their frames. It had been 9 years without seeing much and they couldn’t wait to get glasses. They were saying “yay we’re going to get glasses, and then we’ll see much better!” By the end of the clinic, their serious and shy demeanors had become smiles. The two girls would be getting 3 pairs of glasses between them - 2 pink pairs and 1 brown pair of frames. I wanted to put their glasses on them right there, so they could start seeing better immediately. But, I explained the glasses would need to be made, and there would be just 1 more day of waiting for them. Jena’s prescription was so strong (+6.50) that I walked her by hand through clinic to find her coat and some of her papers, and on to her bus to leave. She gave me many hugs and “thank yous”. Tomorrow she will receive the gift of sight. I’m really happy for her. Better grades in school, much more confidence, and a lot more smiles will be coming from these two sisters very soon—Craig Alter
Day 2 of clinic I encountered a little girl named Jena who was not finding any frames that she liked well enough to wear full time. Jena would have a frame on for less than 10 seconds and decide she didn’t like it after glancing into the mirror. I looked at her rx and saw that Jena definitely couldn’t see up close, let alone know how great these frames looked like on her. I handed Jena a mirror that magnified her image and she instantly fell in love with the frame she had on. She started to smile and pet the frame saying “Oh I love this one!” I thought to myself if this little girl can light up with a magnified mirror image wait till she sees through the actual rx! I feel confident Jena will wear her glasses with a smile on her face and her future will be changed from the OneSight clinic!-- Heidi Kendall-LensCrafters store 287
It’s also important to thank the volunteers whose time and dedication to both their community and OneSight provides much needed extra hands as Carl recognizes:
Day 2 of clinic and day one of ever doing dilation. Certainly, it is a skill that requires lots of practice and courage. I am so thankful for our volunteers from JSR who operated our dilation process as pros. We had so much fun with the children playing games and keeping the experience as fun as possible. Yeah, how fun can stinging eye drops be you ask? We saw 230 children yesterday with 88% of them requiring eyewear. That’s 365 in 2 days with 88% requiring vision correction. Wow, what an amazing job our screening nurses have done to ensure we are seeing those most in need. We saw a number of special needs children who were so brave, so patient and so in need of vision correction. Looking forward to tomorrow.—Carl Highsmith
That’s right! Today we saw 230 kids and 88% of them required eyewear!!!! Such an eventful and another rewarding day!
December 3, 2012
Team Richmond 2012 has officially begun! As a team of over 30 volunteers we boarded the bus at 7:50 am, excited to find what the day held in store for us. As a first time clinic member, the whole experience can feel a bit daunting, especially since most of the stations the children will visit are certainly not ones I encounter in my everyday work. However, this clinic has a wealth of knowledge and experience, with many members having volunteered in prior clinics. After a tour of the clinic we received our assignments. For the Richmond clinic we are seeing children anywhere from Kindergarten to late teens. In talking with the children, I learned several have not ever had their eyes examined. Others have had their eyes examined, needed glasses, but have lost or broken their only pair...but haven't been able to replace them. To many of us, we can't imagine losing or breaking our glasses and then not replacing them immediately. I'm reminded that is why we are here. At the end of the day we de-brief to talk about learnings and how many children were helped. Today we saw 135 kids...and 121 kids needed prescription eyewear. 121. That is 89%. What a great feeling to know we were able to help them, and so many needed our help! We are excited for tomorrow! Stay tuned!
November 30, 2012
After a few technical difficulties, the 2012 Richmond Blog is up and running! I know we are all excited to begin this journey and for many it will officially kick off in about 48 hours! Please be sure to share the blog site with friends and family so we can show them what great things OneSight does!