Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity
Fall 2022 - Newsletter
What is SVOSH?
SVOSH, the student branch of Michigan VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity), is a non-profit, volunteer organization operating exclusively to help provide vision care to those in areas of the world that would otherwise not receive such care.
In 2020-2021, Michigan VOSH/FCO (Fellowship of Christian Optometry) went on only 3 mission trips because of COVID issues, with Michigan College of Optometry (MCO) students joining them. In addition to the students, the mission trips included MCO faculty optometrists, alumni, and other volunteers. Thanks to their efforts, we/they averaged well over 1,000 eye exams and more than 3,000 Rx glasses, readers and sunshades were dispensed to needy individuals on each mission! Many more were given eye medication and/or referred for other medical eye care including treatment for vision threatening diseases (glaucoma) and corrective surgeries (cataracts).
Where did we go in 2020/2021?
- 4 MCO Interns went to Dominica
- FCO went to Ukraine & Guyana
- No other Missions went out in 2020 or 2021 because of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Where are we going in 2022-2023?
- Dominica (X 2)
- Haiti (FCO/RAM)
- Guyana (FCO/RAM)
- President: Molly Leslie ([email protected])
- President Elect: Emma Kain ([email protected])
- Secretary: Shelby Rauch ([email protected])
- Treasurer: Chris Harris ([email protected])
- Community Service 1: Abby Mayer ([email protected])
- Community Service 2: Ashley Kerr ([email protected])
- Faculty Advisor: Dr. Dan Wrubel ([email protected])
Unfortunately, this is a reality for millions of people worldwide.
Our vision affects our ability to work, go to school, and function in society. These are all important parts of daily life that most of us take for granted. In the USA the number one cause of legal blindness is eye disease. In contrast, the number one cause of legal blindness in many third world nations is simply the lack of proper eyeglasses.
There is a solution... there is hope... with your help!
SVOSH (Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) is a charitable and educational organization that strives to provide eye care and eyewear to portions of the world that would otherwise receive no care at all. Our organization is made up of optometry students that donate their time collecting and preparing used eyeglasses to be taken on both homeland and overseas missions, where they assist with eye examinations and eyeglass distribution. We have been providing this service for over 20 years and in that time have distributed thousands of used eyeglasses and have helped thousands more accomplish what so many of us take for granted.
How Can You Help?
- We always welcome donations (tax deductible) to help fund our missions.
- Eyeglasses are key to the success of our missions.
- We are always in need of more!!
- Spread the word! While you may not be able to assist us at this time, please let others know about us so they can help too.
What happens to glasses sent to SVOSH?
Donated glasses are first sorted and categorized by members of the Michigan College of Optometry SVOSH. This work/service is part of the volunteer time/hours requirements for the students to participate in a SVOSH mission. The sorting process involves disposing of unusable glasses, lenses, and frames. Usable glasses (see list below) are further categorized as male, female, child, sun, reader, and specialty glasses. Many glasses then go to various in state and out of state locations to be cleaned, sorted by prescription, and labeled as part of service club programs. Finally, mission leaders select the glasses most appropriate for their mission, and the glasses are packaged and shipped to the mission location. Each mission trip takes well over 6,000 pairs of Rx glasses/readers and suns!
What do we need?
Sunglasses - Sunglasses, both Plano (no prescription) and prescription, are always needed. These are given to all patients receiving an exam. Many of our mission trips are to locations near the equator, where UV rays from the sun can cause significant damage to the eyes. For these residents, our sunglasses may be the only source of UV protection available to them.
Glasses in good condition - Men's, women's, and children's glasses are all in high demand. Broken frames and/or damaged lenses are disposed of. If in doubt - donate!
Children's frames - Glasses and frames for children are always in short supply. Because of the need, we have optical companies who will make lenses to match the frame if it does not currently have lenses.
Readers/bifocals - As readily available as readers are in the United States, they are a precious commodity in the places we visit. When residents gradually lose their ability to focus near due to the natural aging processes, they are forced to give up reading and traditional handicrafts.
Antique or gold - We accept all antique or gold glasses regardless of the condition. These are sold for the gold content or as antiques. The money generated is used to help fund the mission trips.
Eyeglass cases - Due to shipping costs, only cases that are clean and in good condition are actually taken on mission trips.
If you can help in any way, please contact us (MI-VOSH/SVOSH) at (231)-591-2193.
We will be happy to provide you with more information about our organization.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Together we really can help the world to see.