Executive Director, Vision Is Priceless Council
To serve as the community resource for improving the vision health of First Coast children and adults through screening, referral and education.
VIP was founded in 1996 to serve the First Coast area.
We vision-screen 33,000 children and adults in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties every year in more than 500 facilities. In addition, we provide further vision services for those that are screened by us and meet the financial criteria.
Getting the message out about the value of vision screening and follow-up care if recommended. Vision care tends to get moved to the bottom of the priority list of most families with the economy. Some children could easily do better in school if they just had glasses and would be more successful with their future.
Observing our underserved and uninsured clients being able to see after not being able to afford the doctor for so many years. It is amazing how self-reliant they become and to see their enthusiasm to be able to move forward with basic things in life, such as filling out an application or just reading their Bible.
First experience with community service
I was 12 years old and was a candy striper at the old Duval County Medical Center Hospital, which was later Methodist Hospital and now Shands Jacksonville. I remember sitting day after day with an elderly lady that had been burned. She had no family and I was so concerned that she was by herself. I know that was the beginning of my career in service to humanity.
Your job before Vision Is Priceless
I had been the area director at the American Cancer Society for 15 years and at Jacksonville University in development.
Dec. 12: We will partner with Baptist Health for our Gift Of Sight Program allowing 10 underserved clients to receive free cataract surgery.
January: We will be bringing a vision van into town to assure that those children screened by VIP that need further care and qualify will receive a full eye exam and glasses.
March 24: Think Western and great barbecue. W.W. Gay and Miller Electric Co. have been our sponsors for this since the beginning and they cook the best ribs and chicken.