Whether it’s digging ditches for a new housing complex, raising funds for the first school of optometry in Nicaragua, or helping a special little girl and her family forget about their experiences managing her heart condition with a Make-A-Wish reveal, VSP Global employees pitch in wherever they’re needed to make a difference.
As a community-based not-for-profit, VSP gives back to help everyone see more opportunity. Here are a few highlights from 2016.
More than 45 people gained stability, safety and a sense of dignity when 180 VSP employees participated in Habitat for Humanity builds in four communities in the U.S. and Nicaragua.
“Every day I would see a family member standing there with their hand on a wall. It’s a reminder to take a step back and be thankful for what I have,” said Will Hunt, a VSP project manager who volunteered in Nicaragua. “I have a home that has solid walls and doors, and a roof that doesn’t let rain in. I can put my kids down to play because the floor isn’t made of dirt. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction knowing the most foundational human needs for the families were being met.”
Increasing access to care
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN), the first school of optometry in Nicaragua, and other Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) projects around the world received more than $40,000 raised by VSP employees across four continents.
“There is a great need for optometry growth in Nicaragua,” said Justin Manning, OD, an optometry professor at UNAN. “I work with some of the brightest, most dedicated, and hard-working students I have ever known. Support through Optometry Giving Sight goes a long way toward providing quality primary eye care to millions of people in Nicaragua and around the world.”
To celebrate the holidays, employees worked with Make-A-Wish to help change the life of Charlotte. On December 2, Charlotte, a 9-year-old with a heart condition, learned that her wish to visit Aulani, a Disney Resort in Hawaii, with her family was granted.
Hundreds of employees showed up to surprise Charlotte with a luau party at our headquarters in Rancho Cordova, CA. Staff in Columbus, OH; Melville, NY; and other locations sent posters and well wishes to the family.
“I felt overwhelmed with being part of providing such joy to Charlotte and her family when they’ve had so much pain with Charlotte’s multiple surgeries and hospital stays, restrictions on activities their family could participate in, and lots of uncertainty,” said VSP Vision Care President Kate Renwick-Espinosa, who serves on the board of Make-A-Wish Northeastern California and Northern Nevada. “I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be part of a team who lives our value of ‘we care’ so deeply and comes together to do good in such a special way for others.”
That’s not all
In addition, hundreds of VSP doctors volunteered their time and expertise to provide comprehensive eye exams for people in need at more than 80 mobile clinic events throughout the U.S. and provided care for nearly 50,000 children and adults through our gift certificate program in support of our #MillionMore campaign.
Dr. Robert Meisel, a VSP doctor who volunteered at the Monarch School, a school designed to help students impacted by homelessness in San Diego, CA, shared, “It started with…gift certificates, provided by VSP…which covered an eye exam and eyewear but, due to transportation barriers, I would see students months later and some still hadn’t been able to even get to an appointment for an exam. Getting the VSP Mobile Eyes clinics here has been truly impactful. Now I know that we are in essence closing the loop and getting the care and eyewear to the children that need it the most. This is why I got involved – to make a difference in the lives of extremely deserving students.”
A heartfelt thank you to all for an impactful 2016. We’re looking forward to the year ahead!