2016-2017 Annual Meeting: Breaking Barriers, Expanding Our Reach, Creating Change

Published June 12, 2017 by Anna Ulyanenkova, VIP Program Coordinator

Last Thursday, June 8, Vision Is Priceless hosted its 2016-2017 Annual Meeting. The event highlighted our agency’s success over the past year and honored valued supporters of VIP’s mission. Attendees included VIP’s Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and dear friends. The meeting was well-attended, with a turnout of over 50 people!

The atmosphere was charged with excitement from the start as eager guests toured our brand new Mobile Vision Unit. Thanks to our new partnership with St. Vincent’s Mobile Health Outreach Ministry and our collaboration with Essilor Vision Foundation, VIP is now able to bring the doctor to the patient! The unit will travel throughout Northeast Florida, thereby eliminating clients’ transportation barriers to receiving our services.

The formal meeting kicked off with a welcome from Ms. Jami Bueker, VIP Executive Director, and Dr. Jeffery Levenson, VIP Board Chairman. Though VIP is a local nonprofit aimed at improving the vision health of Florida’s First Coast, its mission falls within a broader, global context. Dr. Levenson noted, “Globally, there are tons of people who are blind. Roughly 275 million people in the world are severely visually disabled; and roughly 37 million people are completely blind in both eyes.” He then emphasized VIP’s tremendous effort at lowering these numbers. Already this fiscal year, our organization has screened over 42,500 children and adults and provided 855 eye exams to people in need in Northeast Florida.

Ms. Bueker continued by highlighting other successes from this past year. Most notably, VIP increased the number of clients receiving eye exams while reducing the wait list. In addition, the program team provided an additional 1,500 children with vision screenings when compared to the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Dr. Levenson and VIP staff concluded by recognizing several individuals who have played an integral role in Vision Is Priceless’ success. Award recipients included:

Dot Mathias Award: Ms. Wendy Whitlow, Fortis College

Recognizes an individual who has worked in support of the Duval County School Vision Screening program.

Frances B. Kinne Award: Kristin Sitchler, River City Science Academy

Recognizes faithful participation in sight saving programs for children.

Jane M. Wynn Award: Robyn Pelletier, PRA Health Sciences

Recognizes an individual for faithfully participating in sight saving programs and services for adults in our community.

Will H. Wasson Award: St. Johns Eye Associates

Recognizes an organization’s commitment of time and support of Vision Is Priceless’ mission.

Chairman’s Award: Dr. Tawnya Wilson, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

Recognizes a vision professional who volunteers their time and talent in support of Vision Is Priceless.

Roger G. Gibson Award: Mr. Lee Lester, Levenson Eye Associates

Recognizes a highly valuable volunteer who has dedicated countless hours to helping Vision Is Priceless provide quality services to our clients.

Vision Keeper Awards: Don Wiggins, VIP Advisory Board & Susan Mattox, VIP Executive Director 2007- 2016

Honors those who have provided long-time support of the agency and have been instrumental in the success of Vision Is Priceless.

Improving vision health of both local and global communities is a tremendous task that cannot be done alone. All of us at Vision Is Priceless would like to thank our Board of Directors, volunteers, supporters, donors, and friends – we truly cannot accomplish our mission without you! While each one of us can make a difference, together we make change.

Special thanks to the Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust for generously donating their space for the annual event.