Unite For Sight

Two SIU Students Volunteer in Africa

Carterville, IL-Nicole Wachter and Villa Grove, IL-Joe Gulick have been selected to be Global Impact Fellows with Unite For Sight in Accra, Ghana during July 2012. Unite For Sight (www.uniteforsight.org) is the world's leader in socially responsible, effective volunteering and also a leader in providing cost-effective care to the world's poorest people. While a Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellow, like Nicole or Joe, will work with a Unite For Sight partner eye clinic to provide eye care in communities without previous access. Unite For Sight supports eye clinics worldwide by investing human and financial resources in their social ventures to eliminate patient barriers to eye care. Nicole and Joe will work with the partner eye clinics' talented ophthalmologists and eye doctors who are social entrepreneurs addressing complex global health issues. On a year-round basis, the clinic’s local eye doctors diagnose and treat eye diseases in the field, and surgical patients are brought to the eye clinic for surgery by the local ophthalmologist.

Nicole Wachter, a pre-optometry student at SIUC, is studying biological sciences plans to build upon her experience with Unite For Sight when she enters optometry school in the future. She founded the local Unite For Sight chapter in Carbondale, IL just two years ago.

Joe Gulick, a pre-medical student at SIUC, is studying physiology. He became interested in volunteering with Unite For Sight when he learned that blindness is usually preventable and curable in the developing world.

Unite For Sight's Global Impact Corps is an immersive global health experience. Global Impact Fellows such as Joe and Nicole are engaged in cutting-edge global health programs and are immersed in the field of social entrepreneurship. They gain hands-on training about effective health program delivery and the opportunities and challenges facing social entrepreneurs and clinicians in developing countries. On a daily basis, they will assist local ophthalmic nurses and optometrists in all aspects of the eye care programs, including taking patient history, testing visual acuity, distributing medication and eyeglasses prescribed by the local eye nurses and optometrists, providing eye health education in the villages and schools, and helping with data collection and analysis. All of the eye exams, diagnosis, and surgeries are provided by local eye doctors. Prior to participating abroad, they will complete Unite For Sight's Global Impact Training, which includes training in cultural competency, global health, social entrepreneurship, community eye health, volunteer ethics and professionalism, and other similar topics.

Nicole and Joe are also fundraising for Unite For Sight, and 100% of the funds raised will provide sight-restoring surgeries for patients living in extreme poverty. The patients go from being blind to having their sight entirely restored. Each cataract surgery costs $50 on average, so every dollar donated makes a tremendous impact on the lives of children and adults. To contribute to Nicole’s fundraising efforts, contact nicolewachter@siu.edu. To contribute to Joe’s fundraising efforts, contact jgulick@siu.edu. Unite For Sight can provide you with a donation receipt for tax purposes. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent provided by U.S. law. Their goal is to each raise $1800 to assist the Crystal Eye Clinic financially while they are there.

Important Facts About Unite For Sight
• Unite For Sight is not a "medical mission". Unite For Sight does not provide short-term programs or interventions. Unite For Sight supports local eye clinics that provide eye care to patients living in extreme poverty on a daily basis and year-round.
• Unite For Sight works with local eye clinic partners to create and implement effective, sustainable, year-long eye care programs.
• The eye care services are comprehensive, including examinations by local eye doctors, diagnosis and care for all treatable conditions, education and prevention. This full range of services is delivered to the population year-round.
• Outreach services are brought to the people in their villages, whether those remote areas are 1 hour from the local eye clinic, or 7 hours from the clinic.
• All eye care and surgeries are provided by local eye doctors who are highly skilled and trained.
• Unite For Sight's volunteers (Global Impact Fellows) support and assist local eye clinics and their ophthalmic staff. The local eye doctors provide the eye care, and the volunteers assist with visual acuity screening, patient intake, patient education, and other support roles.
• Unite For Sight runs a highly effective and efficient organization, and 100% of all donations go directly to providing eye care for patients living in extreme poverty.

For more information about Unite For Sight, contact:
Unite For Sight Phone: (203) 404-4900, Email: ufs@uniteforsight.org Website: www.uniteforsight.org

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