Written by Adriana DiBenedetto
On Thursday, May 4, 2023, volunteers and medical professionals from the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation (TCMF) set out with community partners for a special event at Madison Elementary School in Fresno, California. On this day, a milestone achievement was reached for the See 2 Succeed vision program during volunteers’ routine service event visit, wherein the 5,000th pair of eyeglasses was dispensed since the program’s inception in 2015.
See 2 Succeed is a local nonprofit partnership that joins hands with Fresno County Schools to offer crucial vision care for children in California’s Central Valley. And, utilizing Tzu Chi’s Vision Mobile Clinics outfitted with state-of-the-art optometrist equipment, See 2 Succeed offers free eye exams to 50-60 children per week, as well as free prescription lenses for students in need — helping improve confidence and performance in the classroom and beyond. New prescription eyeglasses are usually ready in under two hours at Tzu Chi’s mobile clinics, and crucial information is provided for parents and caregivers regarding the importance of maintaining their child’s vision health. See 2 Succeed currently serves 51 schools per year, prescreening over 16,500 children yearly.
This monumental accomplishment would not have been possible for this unique service program without the support from generous sponsors like CalViva Health, Fansler Foundation, Fresno Unified School District, Fresno County Superintendents of Schools, Wesley Foundation, Valley Children Hospital, and Cradle to Career.
The hardworking team at Tzu Chi Fresno Mobile Clinic marks the distribution of 5,000 pairs of eyeglasses with a celebratory cake. Photo/Tzu Chi Fresno Mobile Clinic
Programs like See 2 Succeed are truly life-changing for Fresno County students who otherwise might not have been able to access these services. Tzu Chi USA’s Mobile Clinics empower underserved communities in Fresno and surrounding towns, with more mobile clinics in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Jose, to help ensure volunteers’ care can reach as many people as possible.
Tzu Chi Mobile Clinic recognizes the tremendous importance of health and vision care in people’s daily lives. With this in mind, Tzu Chi’s medical volunteer team helps individuals and families receive the patient-focused care they need — regardless of income.
Vision Care in Motion
The city of Fresno is home to many agricultural workers and migrant families for whom treatment can be challenging to access. In addition to affordability concerns, barriers in transportation and limited resources often compound matters, meaning individuals may delay or forgo medical help. With this, Tzu Chi’s Mobile Clinic team collaborates with schools to aid as many students as possible, knowing that students learn better when their basic needs are met. In doing so, volunteers and volunteer medical professionals provide the vision treatment students need to grow and reach their goals.
With uncorrected vision problems, children may experience headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, dry eyes, and back, neck, and shoulder pain as they do their best to see the board, screens, schoolwork, or engage in beloved hobbies like sports or creating arts and crafts. All of this affects not only how they see, but how they feel and perceive themself, both now and in the future.
Tzu Chi USA’s Fresno Mobile Clinic is well-equipped with the tools to make a real difference without delay. Staffed with a team of licensed optometrists and fully outfitted with ophthalmic equipment, the clinic can diagnose eye conditions, provide vision screenings, and produce prescription lenses on the spot, all in one day. The unit presents a selection of eyeglasses according to the results, and children can pick out the frame they like best.
As expressed by Steven Voon, Executive Director of Tzu Chi Mobile Clinic, the vision clinic was designed in one sense with a bit of a ‘wow’ factor in mind for the patient. Indeed, every guest who visits the mobile clinic can surely feel the ‘wow’ experience — perhaps even seeing the world in stunning clarity for the first time, and that’s a game changer.
Tzu Chi’s Vision Mobile Clinic provides eye care on the spot. With your help, we can keep important medical programs like these going. Photo/Tzu Chi Fresno Mobile Clinic
At Tzu Chi USA’s mobile clinics, volunteers are committed to serving communities and helping families get the care and consideration they deserve. At the heart of their mission is a resonating message: if they cannot come to us, we’ll go to them — because everyone deserves to feel cared for. The services Tzu Chi provides are a blessing with far-reaching positive effects in the daily lives of these families and children, and volunteers hope the benefits will set a wondrous cycle in motion for years to come.