Helping Underserved Clients See a Better Future
Summer is the time to unwind and relax, a time for fun and excitement. At Vision Is Priceless, the past several months have been incredibly exciting, though perhaps not as stress-free, due to the launch of the Mobile Vision Unit. As the premier community resource for vision health in the First Coast, VIP serves clients from Duval, Clay, Baker, St. Johns, and Nassau Counties. With the mobile unit, VIP is now able to not only offer vision services but bring them directly to those who are otherwise unable to take advantage of office appointments.
“The mobile unit is an incredible addition to the services we offer at Vision Is Priceless. Our clients may face many obstacles while seeking necessary care, but lack of transportation is often the most difficult to overcome,” says Cheryl Stakes, VIP’s Program Director. With its six wheels and fully operational medical and vision exam rooms, the mobile unit breaks down transportation barriers for many of our clients in both Jacksonville and the outlying counties.
The state-of-the-art, 45 ft mobile unit is the first of its kind in Florida. It is made possible through a truly unique community collaboration: its purchase secured through a partnership between St. Vincent’s Mobile Health Outreach Ministry and THE PLAYERS, its eye exam equipment funded by the Essilor Vision Foundation, its medical services provided by St. Vincent’s, and all vision services provided by volunteer doctors and eye care professionals who donate their time to Vision Is Priceless.
Having completed three mobile clinics on the new unit, we have already seen the impact that eliminating the transportation barrier has had on the amount of clients served. The second mobile clinic, held on June 17th, saw a drastic decrease in the number of cancellations and no shows. Since the unit was stationed at the Wildflower Clinic, a free medical clinic in St. Johns County, patients were familiar with where to go and did not have to travel too far from their homes. Indeed, out of the 11 scheduled patients, only 1 was unable to keep her appointment.
While the mobile clinic is well on its way to eliminating clients’ barriers to access eye care, the preparatory phase of the project saw several concerns. According to Stakes, “the biggest concern I had during pre-planning was securing enough professional volunteers. As amazing as the VIP program staff is, the doctors are key to providing the much-needed services to our clients.”
With three mobile clinics under her belt, Stakes had a chance to reflect on the way they had gone and saw that her initial concerns were unfounded. “Truthfully, the first three mobile clinics have gone remarkably well! I have truly been humbled by the enormous support VIP and the Mobile Unit has received by local optometrists, ophthalmologists, technicians and opticians. The generous nature of these individuals is a true blessing to our clients.”
The kind and charitable spirit, efficiency, and state-of-the-art equipment does not go unnoticed by patients. “The first thing I typically hear as our clients approach the mobile unit is ”˜Wow!’ I believe our clients are thrilled to experience full service eye exams in such a beautiful space,” says Stakes.
She further comments, “The most exciting part about this unit is that the possibilities are endless. Thus far, we have provided close to thirty exams and glasses for some extremely grateful people that are now on their way to ”˜seeing’ a better future. Through our partnership with St. Vincent’s Mobile Health, and the spirit of philanthropy of our local eye care professionals, Vision is Priceless will be able to bring life changing vision care to countless residents in Northeast Florida.”
To learn more about Vision Is Priceless and our programs, or to see if you qualify for a free eye exam, call us at 904-308-2020 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.