Last month I had the pleasure of joining Dr. James Devine, Dr. Todd Pfeil and our non-profit co-founder, Troy Kirk, on a trip to Haiti. As this was our first official trip for Shared Vision International, we were unsure of what to expect. However, each day exceeded our expectations, and hundreds of lives (400 to be exact) were affected even more than we could have hoped. It is hard to accurately describe the feeling of being able to share sight with others. The employees of EyeCare Specialties know this feeling very well as we have this privileged opportunity every day. Before our trip, I took that feeling for granted because we see hundreds of patients each day at our clinics and help to enhance their lives through complete vision care.
There was something special that occurred in Haiti when we looked into the eyes of a 68 year old Haitian woman (who was unaware how poor her vision really was), placed the new frames on her face, and witnessed her experience in that first moment of clear sight in 68 years. That initial moment of clear sight was just a glimpse of the many moments to come in her transformed life.
I wish I could share each story with you, but the few that will follow in this blog series are some of the most memorable stories that we were able to share while serving the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. This trip would not have been possible without the support and donations of our patients, employees, and other industry connections. Many contributed funding and others contributed frames, lenses, services, equipment, etc. Every bit of it was a necessary piece for the trip’s success, and we thank you. We are confident that this was just the first of many trips Shared Vision International will embark upon, abroad as well as locally. We are all fortunate to have been blessed with the resources and skills to help others, and we look forward to continuing in this partnership together that we might share with those who are less fortunate. Together we can share vision in order to enhance and transform lives.
The goals and mission of Shared Vision International (SVI) are easily explained within its own name. The purpose of SVI is to provide resources to assist and share in the provision of relief, including the restoration of everyday visual acuity through the charitable distribution and education of eyewear and eye care to those in need both domestically and internationally. We have a passion to share all the resources we have been blessed with in order to help others see life more clearly, starting with their eyes. We strongly believe that the rest of a person’s life can be dramatically enhanced with improved vision. We want to assist in the visual restoration of lives by sharing our compassion, time, people, leadership, philosophy, funds, and education. We also intend to partner with other non-profits by joining their trips and inviting them on ours. Sharing resources with other for-profit and non-profit groups can affect many more lives. The “Vision” part speaks not only to our role as eye care professionals, but also to our optimistic vision for our world. We desire to share a vision that creates a sustainable, long-term relationship with those lives we come into contact with. We want to cultivate relationships with individual recipients, our donors, and our partner organizations so the enhancement of vision remains and grows to positively affect the greater restoration of lives. Although the name includes “International” we do intend on charitably distributing part of the funds and resources locally as well as to international causes. Our goal is to create a full-circle connection with the donors and the recipients by sharing the story of how one shared vision with the other, whether it be their eyewear, their funds, etc. We believe a by-product of this full-circle concept will create the intrinsic drive to share that story with others and both lives will be enhanced, which again is just a glimpse of the greater goal of restored lives.