Southern College of Optometry's Community Outreach program provided eye and vision care to 229 Memphis area homeless people as part of Project Homeless Connect on Valentine's Day, 2013. Sponsored by the Community Alliance for the Homeless, the program provided access to medical care, legal services, veterans' affairs and other important resources at the Cook Convention Center in Downtown Memphis.
The event marked SCO's first participation with the daylong program. SCO faculty members were assisted by interns and other volunteers in an elaborate process that involved checking in participants, performing a checklist of assessments and examinations, and aiding homeless citizens who lack access to the most basic care. The final totals showed:
- Full eye exams were provided to 173 individuals,
- Reading glasses were dispensed to more than 40 individuals, and
- Eyeglass prescriptions will be filled for more than 90 additional people.
Dr. Zakiya Nicks, SCO's Coordinator of Community Outreach, measured SCO's participation as a fantastic success. "We are already hearing praise from people in the community for our role."
Coordination of the event was also made possible by Christine Weinreich, SCO's Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations. "This is an exciting time as SCO grows our community partnerships, awareness and support, as well as our service impact on those in need," she said.
SCO's participation was noted in a story published by the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis. Fox 13 News also aired this story about the event.
Photos from SCO's participation may be viewed in our online photo gallery. This short video clip shows the care received by Mikita Green, who expressed her appreciation to SCO for providing her with vision care.