U.S. Conference of Mayors Event Addressed a Major Need

By Stuart Tasman, OD December 05, 2016

Recently, VSP Global wrapped up its partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, California. Altogether, the 10-city tour helped 10,000 people, from children to seniors. I was fortunate to have participated as a volunteer when the partnership kicked off in south Atlanta in May, where we provided eye care for a thousand people in need.

I volunteered because I enjoy giving back. I had done so before with VSP and it was simple to sign up to volunteer again. While I love giving back, my experience was a long, non-stop day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. We had breaks built in, but I didn’t take them, because once I started working, I wanted to keep going. I was tired at the end of day and left thinking, “I don’t know if I helped much, but I feel good driving home.”

Those we helped were so appreciative of what we were doing for them, which made the experience very rewarding. I was amazed at how many people needed glasses, but couldn’t afford to go to a doctor. I live and work in the Atlanta suburbs. Patients I see at my practice typically have vision coverage and medical coverage. The patients that we saw in south Atlanta did not. There were so many people in need, including elderly patients in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. We also took care of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, between the ages of 5-9, who were also at the event.

My biggest takeaway was the extent of need for vision care in south Atlanta. Some patients couldn’t see well enough to drive a car or work. Now, with new glasses, their lives are much improved. We helped as many people as we could in one day, but it wasn’t enough. We need a lot more events like this in Atlanta and around the world.

As I see it, I got more out of this event than I gave. As doctors, we have the ability to help people see. We have an opportunity to help those in need, and it is very rewarding. So let’s do it.

For more information on how you can volunteer on an upcoming mobile clinic, click here.


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