Southern college of Optometry student speaks to Manila Lions

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Jeanne Chen, student at Southern College of Optometry, speaks at the Manila Lions Club meeting. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Jeanne Chen, student at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, was the guest speaker at the Manila Lions Club on Wednesday at noon.

Chen is a member of SVOSH (Student Volunteers in Optometric Service to Humanity). She talked to the group on the work they do each year to provide free exams and eyeglasses to needy people in Central and South America. They also serve their own communities by assisting with screenings at Lions Club Sight Vans, helping with remote area medical clinics (an organization of optometrists and dentists that travel throughout the United States to provide free health care), and providing vision screenings in the Memphis area.

Chen is on one of nine teams that will be traveling to work in the clinics performing eye exams, educating local people on preventive eye care, and treating the eye diseases they can.

The SVOSH team members raise $1,000 each, spend 30 hours participating in group fundraisers, work 30 hours in the lab sorting and cleaning donated glasses, and travel to assist with eye exams.

"Our mission trips are a great learning experience for us, she said. "The days are long and the work is intense but the best part is helping someone to see clearly. They are closer to the equator and experience sun damage."

In addition to eyeglasses they distribute sunglasses during their trips.

"We see a lot of children," she said. "We want to provide glasses to help the people. I am here to ask for your help. We will see about 200 people a day while we are in their country."

She said there is a need for children's glasses.

Chen commended the Lions Club for the work they do.

"We have collected eyeglasses and sent them to Pennsylvania," Lion Wayne Shedd said. "Your school is closer to home and it sounds like you will be doing the same thing."

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