Ever have a moment where you discover more about yourself and how you’re connected to others? Some event or activity that clearly shows that what you’re doing (and/or the organization you’re working with) makes a difference in the lives of others? I had one of those moments this year in Chester, Pennsylvania – an eye-opening experience that had a huge impact on me.
This is the 5th consecutive year VSP Mobile Eyes has visited its adopted city of Chester and hometown of NBA player Tyreke Evans, providing people in need with access to free eye care and eyewear. This year’s visit also included a free Basketball Camp with Tyreke for 140 kids in 4th through 12th grades.
I’d heard stories from my colleagues about the extreme need for access to services and how much the residents of Chester rely on VSP’s mobile eye clinic and volunteer regional optometrists. Being my first time to Chester, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Chester was intense, fun and rewarding. Five days of VSP mobile eye clinic, Chester Boys and Girls Club with Tyreke and Barbara from Marchon Eyewear reading to kids, two days of basketball camp with fantastic support from the volunteer coaches and the VSP Diversity team, and staffing interviews with Tyreke who shared his thoughts with the media about the importance of access to eye care and commitment to diversity and community.
My time in Chester felt like a really good family reunion, where everyone blended together to make this outreach event magical and meaningful. We’re talking with the City of Chester and other community and business partners to figure out how to solve the challenge of sustainable access to eye care. Any ideas you have on this subject, please share your thoughts in the comments section.
The lessons learned in Chester go deep: persistence to continue moving forward, commitment to family and community, and treating each other with respect and courtesy. We’re all on a journey, and it is imperative that we have the opportunity to see what is possible in our lives. Access to eye care is a healthy step in the right direction.
Thank you for the lessons, City of Chester!
Photo credit: Talyr Williams.
This is a guest post by VSP Employee, Eric M.