BY CHRISTINE DIETZ, ONESIGHT VOLUNTEER
Earlier this year, our team traveled to Central Valley, CA to serve local patients in need. Storyteller and OneSight volunteer, Christine Dietz, shared her experience with us:
“When I was first picked for this clinic, I was disappointed. Mainly because I wanted to attend an international clinic and make a global impact. And as an LA resident, I felt like, “what could a clinic two hours away from me really teach me?” After spending just one day at this clinic, I realized how absolutely wrong my thinking was.
This clinic could not have been more rewarding. I had no idea just how close the desperate need for vision care was to my own home. And when I say desperate need, I mean that over 80% of the children we saw at our clinic were prescribed eyewear – many of which were receiving glasses for the very first time.
Central Valley, also known as Fertile Valley, has a high population of migrant workers that work the farmland. These men and women help pick & care for many of the fruits and vegetables that you enjoy eating. Many of these workers are paid less than minimum wage and support multi-person households. In fact, the average income for a migrant family of 4 is a shocking $27,000/year.
When struggling just to put food on the table and afford one’s basic necessities, vision care rarely makes the list of priorities. Not only is cost an issue, but many of these remote towns don’t have an eye doctor. The nearest optometrist is in Bakersfield, which is over 15 miles away! OneSight’s presence in this area, year after year, has made an impactful difference. I am so humbled to be part of this clinic and to have met my amazing volunteer team. Though there is always more work to be done to help bridge the gap in access to vision care, I’m feeling blessed to help in my own home state. ”