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A Student's Mission
As I shared last month, it was a passion for helping others that steered me towards optometry. This month, as we recognize Global Volunteer Month, I’m grateful that I am getting to exercise that passion even as a fourth-year optometry student.
While in school, I’ve served in several leadership roles, including president of my class. Out of all the positions I have held, by far the most rewarding was president of the Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH.), SVOSH is a charitable and educational organization that facilitates vision care for people who cannot otherwise afford or obtain it. As president of SVOSH, I organized a mission trip to Roatán, Honduras, where we provided vision care and glasses to the people of Roatán for four days. In partnership with a local medical clinic, we also provided medical care for ocular conditions like cataracts and glaucoma and supplied eye drops for the year to come. The people we saw were in such need of care and so grateful for our help! Those of you who have participated in mission trips or other charity work will probably agree that it's a life-changing experience and will leave you feeling grateful for everything that you have.
One patient story that impacted me from my time in Roatán was a woman who had developed pathologic myopia and had been unable to see clearly for several years. When I told her we were giving her new glasses, she was so emotional and grateful about finally being able to see well—she almost walked away with my trial pair of glasses! We then sent her over to a specialist who was able to monitor and start treatment for her retina. It was so exciting and rewarding to see her go from a state of frustration and confusion to pure happiness at finally being able to see. I still think about that woman and wonder how her glasses have changed her life.
As I prepare for graduation, I’m looking forward to continuing my mission to help others as a practicing OD. One way I plan to do that is with VSP Vision Eyes of Hope, which provides access to eye care and eyewear where it’s needed most. Throughout my education, VSP has been incredibly supportive of our school and the students, offering scholarships and coming to support our events. I was excited to learn about their Eyes of Hope mobile clinics, which partner with doctors to travel across the U.S. and provide no-cost eye exams and prescription glasses to people in need. Partnering with Eyes of Hope is an easy way for me to further my mission and continue my relationship with VSP as an OD.
As Eye See It, Global Volunteer Month is a great time to think about ways to help people in need. For me, it is a year-round mission, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve already had to help others and the many opportunities to come.