The American Optometric Association recently published an article on their website and Facebook about Great Shape! Inc. and the awesome volunteers who make our projects possible. Originally published on Monday, July 11, we thought we would share it here, for our followers to read.
Dr. Kelly has practiced optometry in the United States for 14 years and has used her talents to serve those less fortunate in Mexico and Costa Rica. She will now bestow the gift of sight in Jamaica as a volunteer with Great Shape! Inc.’s iCare vision project.
Her introduction to Great Shape!’s iCare project came in last summer’s edition of the AOA News. “I was immediately intrigued,” Dr. Kelly said.
While Jamaica is known for its tropical beauty, Reggae music, and plenty of goodness, there is also great need. In western Jamaica, there are no public health optometrists and only two public health ophthalmologists for more than half a million people.
“Unlike other volunteer trips that I have been on, the iCare project includes optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. I really liked that the project also includes nurses to provide blood pressure and blood sugar screenings,” explained Dr. Kelly.
Since 2009, the iCare project, in partnership with VOSH, LERC, the Sandals Foundation, and Sandals Resorts International, has served more than 3,000 Jamaicans. Teams of volunteers provide: eye exams, surgery referrals and thousands of eyeglasses, readers, and sunglasses.
|Another volunteer doing vision work|
Ed Worthen, O.D., another AOA member, who volunteered in 2009-2010, recommends this project because “The infrastructure is very well organized. Sandals (Sandals Resorts International) takes care of housing and transportation. You can show up and get work done. Great Shape! has a well organized team that knows how to set things up and because of that a lot of people get help. Great Shape! makes it happen.”
Dr. Kelly is most looking forward to examining school-age children on the trip. “They are so much fun to examine and are typically so curious about everything.”
The iCare project serves all ages. iCare Program Director, Steven Stern, helped launch the project after he provided a pair of reading glasses to a Jamaican woman who had not been able to read for 10 years. “I was amazed by the difference a dollar pair of readers could make to someone’s well-being. I became determined to help more Jamaicans with their eye problems,” said Stern.
Great Shape! Inc. added the iCare project to its host of volunteer projects. Great Shape! is a 501 c 3 founded in 1988 that serves more than 40,000 people a year with three projects: iCare (vision), 1000 Smiles (dental), and SuperKids (literacy).
“It has been several years since my last volunteer trip, so I hope the iCare trip this fall will reopen the door to many more trips in the coming years,” said Dr. Kelly.
Great Shape! Inc. and iCare welcome anyone with a heart for service.
For info and applications, check out www.gsjamaica.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see the article in it’s original glory, or to post comments encouraging those who read their articles check out http://newsfromaoa.org/2011/07/11/ods-encourage-others-to-volunteer-for-trips/#more-2605