Leading with Vision!

“There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.” Helen Keller

This summer Serve to Lead will kick off our Global Leadership Academy! In partnership with GBI Crossroads, this multi week  leadership and service program invites students to directly connect with communities abroad sharing ideas, resources and skills to address problems associated with poverty.

Following one of our international service trips to the Dominican Republic in 2015, Hannah, an Asheville High School junior, had an idea. Hannah had an interest in optometry. She wondered how people living with limited access to basic needs could have vision care.  She saw a specific need and wanted to do something to help villagers have access to basic eye care and refractive correction. Hannah, returned home last summer moved to action to help others have sight!

When we returned to Asheville, Hannah told me about her idea to provide basic eye care and glasses to the people she had met in the DR.

She wanted to do something but she wasn’t sure how to get started. I asked if she would like to join our first Global Leadership Academy in 2016. This would give her the training and opportunity to work hand in hand with the community and share her hope of the gift of sight for all!

Our Global Leadership Academy engages young people in training that integrates their interests with opportunities to address urgent global issues associated with poverty. Hannah began working with us to learn more about basic eye care and how to meet this need.

Hannah began speaking with me to groups in Asheville.

She told people the facts:
As many as 900 million children and adults in the world today are visually impaired due to refractive errors that could be corrected by prescription eye glasses. The World Health Organization estimates that 75% of the world’s blindness could be prevented or treated.

Hannah sought funds to purchase a devise called a Focometer. This devise is a monocular hand held devise used in natural light allowing an individual’s refractive power to be read. Sounds complicated for a high school student?!

Thanks to Heart of the Cross mission friends like Dr. Scott McDonald of Asheville, Hannah will be trained on how to use the Focometer and be fully capable of sharing her knowledge with our local partners in the Dominican Republic.

In addition to being trained on this devise Hannah is collecting hundreds of pairs of glasses to take and use in the vision clinics.

As part of this effort, Hannah, along with many Asheville High School students who are serving on one of our summer service teams, will be trained by Glasses for Missions on how to make eye glasses and lead a vision clinic. Students will then work with local leaders in the Dominican Republic and supply them with materials to continue providing vision care!



The gift of vision! What a blessing!