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Giving Back in the Dominican Republic

May 31, 2013

Giving Back in the Dominican Republic

By Kerry Giedd, Doctor of Optometry

Central to our mission at Eola Eyes is the genuine care that we have for our patients, staff, and community. Giving back to the community is an integral part of our passion and purpose. While we support our Central Florida community in many ways, including providing eye care and glasses to those in need through a variety of local initiatives, I, Dr. Kerry Giedd, have also been expanding Eola Eyes’ outreach internationally. This month, my ten-year-old daughter, Lindsey, and I set out with an Orlando-based team called The Eyeglass Project to the Dominican Republic (DR). A short two-hour flight from Orlando took us to a place that feels 10,000 miles from home, well beyond the borders of my usual comfort zone, Eola Eyes. There, we provided eye exams and recycled eyeglasses for over 700 people in impoverished areas outside of the capital city of Santo Domingo. 

Families there—some who had no running water or electricity in their hill-top, makeshift homes—lined up for hours for what may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity to see an eye doctor or get some glasses. They had kind hearts and grateful smiles, appreciative of how we impacted their lives, but unaware of how much they impacted ours. To be reminded of the vast blessings I have, riches that are unimaginable to those who don’t have even the most basic comforts, was a life-changing gift. To see images of life in the third world on a screen is one thing. To get to serve those individuals and meet them face to face is something else. It was an amazing experience and I plan to return to the DR in 2014.

Eola Eyes continues to collect eyeglasses that you no longer need to repurpose through The Eyeglass Project as well as through Lions Club International, so please don’t discard old glasses or keep them tucked away in a drawer. Bring them in and we will find them new face! If you feel called to serve on an international mission of any type, don’t hesitate to call or email me to talk about opportunities in the DR or elsewhere.

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