Tuesday, December 16, 2014

GIVING BACK; Using Our Skills to Support Charities

As a business owner we've been involved with local charities for over 25 years.  As a professional photographer it was only natural that I join the local chapter of Lions International, since their mission is eyesight preservation.

Having been a Lion in California--the Saratoga Lions Club--for over 10-years, I checked out several chapters around Boise and joined the Meridian Lions in part because they have a growing, somewhat younger, group and they have a great fundraiser, a rodeo, that just celebrated it's 25th year.

So, after our chapter donated the major equipment to complete the Idaho Lions Vision Clinic, and the Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation announced the date of it's grand opening, I volunteered to photograph the facility and the first patient through their doors.
The Idaho Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation Lobby
I was really impressed with the custom metal wall displays.  They give the lobby a real professional corporate look.
Separate from the main lobby the vision clinic has its own entry, waiting area and the eyeglass frames wall display.

Jay Lugo, the Executive Director, meets the first patient to the vision clinic on December 12th 2014 at 9:30am.
Jay conducts the first step in the eye exam. 
The patient with our new eye exam equipment.

Some of the testing is still done the low-tech way!

Then there's the "better or worse?" Lens machine.  anyone who wears glasses is familiar with this one!

The final test before she has her eyes dilated…

After everything is done she picks out frames.  This clinic is a non-profit staffed with volunteer doctors and the Lions Clubs in the area give funds to pay for tests and glasses for those who can not afford to pay.

The facility also houses the Idaho Lions Eye Bank.  The only such bank in Idaho.  They receive, inspect, and store the donated corneas on-site, then they're shipped to needy patients on the waiting list.

Here a cornea is being inspected with a microscope outputted to a computer monitor.  The technician is actually counting how many good cells are left in the cornea.  We're born with about 4000 cells and as we age we lose them. To qualify for use in transplants they want at least 2000 cells in a cornea.  On her monitor you can see the cells in a piece of this cornea.  They also only have 14 days from extraction to examine, prepare, ship and transplant before this cornea expires as viable transplant material.

I'll end with a pretty picture at the vision clinic's front desk.  I think it's great when we can use our skill as photographers to aid in charitable good works, especially if these good causes mean something personally to us.

As always, should you have comments or questions please don't hesitate.

Till next week…

Author:  Jerry W Venz, Master Photographer Certified
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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