Story by Shay-Chen Liu; Wen-Qi Zhuang | NJ, USA

On May 19th, Tzu Chi New Jersey's medical volunteers teamed up with Davis Family School in Camden, New Jersey, to host a "Great Love Vision Clinic" event, helping 17 students get eyeglasses and creating a brighter future for them.

The Mission of Bringing Joy and Relieving Suffering

The third medical event this year, was joined by thirty volunteers from different areas of New Jersey as well as volunteers from Philadelphia who drove up to four hours to .

The event was made possible through a Tzu Chi volunteer, Jesse, and his sister Jamie, who regularly volunteered to read stories to the children at the school. Jesse introduced Tzu Chi’s free medical services to the school, leading to the first on-campus vision clinic on that May 19.

Before the event, two volunteers visited Davis Family School to discuss the collaboration and share Tzu Chi’s community efforts with the school staff. Principal Danielle Montaque expressed excitement about the experience and hoped to extend the service to the community, appreciating the support of over thirty volunteers and seeing it as a promising start.

Humanity's Kindness Knows No Boundaries

The previous day, volunteers carefully packed and transported the expensive ophthalmic equipment in a rented truck, ensuring it was ready by 7 AM. They stayed overnight at volunteer Lihua Yang’s home in South Jersey to prepare.

The school opened its auditorium on Sunday for the clinic, and the school nurse had pre-screened the children for basic vision tests, scheduling appointments for those most in need.

Cynthia Martinez, an educational specialist at the school praised the clinic, noting that many students needed glasses but parents found it difficult to schedule exams. The "one-stop eye exam" was highly beneficial, allowing everything to be done at once. Grateful for the volunteer’s support, Cynthia happily arrived at the school early and stayed all day to help.

With many Spanish-speaking parents, the school also arranged for interpreters to ensure smooth and clear communication. One parent, Dominique Gagliardi, expressed her appreciation for the free service as her children's eye doctor had been unavailable, and many doctors didn't accept her insurance. The smooth examination process and the offer of free glasses were a great help, and she hoped to participate in future adult vision clinics.

Planting Seeds of Kindness in Children's Hearts

Trained volunteers carefully conducted initial eye exams with advanced equipment, and Dr. Chen provided final prescriptions and free glasses through Tzu Chi's medical services.

At 9:15 AM, a family of four arrived for eye exams. Twelve-year-old Reyna, wearing broken glasses held together with tape, was delighted to learn she would soon receive new glasses.

Volunteers also educated parents and students about eye care and the importance of vitamins in fruits and vegetables. This community event aimed to help local children in need of eye care, improving their learning and quality of life. By offering professional medical services to underprivileged students, Tzu Chi hopes to plant seeds of kindness in their hearts, encouraging them to grow into compassionate individuals.

In five hours, volunteers provided free eye exams to 23 students and prescribed new glasses to 17. The event not only improved the students' vision but also made them feel the warmth and care of society. Tzu Chi New Jersey hopes to raise awareness of children's vision health and inspire more people to participate in charitable actions.

Volunteers serve the community with selfless love, expecting nothing in return. | Photo courtesy of Zai-xin Chen | Camden, New Jersey, USA | 2024/05/19

The successful clinic ended with gratitude from the principal, vice-principal, and many parents, who looked forward to future visits. Tzu Chi New Jersey will continue promoting various medical and educational projects, helping the community and spreading love and care to make the world a better place.