When Miona Collins, Tarah Eubanks, Linda Walton, and Nacresesh Speed enrolled in Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest’s pharmacy technician training program, which started on September 12, they had no idea that both they and members of their families would have access to free eye exams and new eyeglasses.
Their timing, however, was perfect. From September 20 to 22, JVS was part of OneSight, a three-day clinic, hosted by Essilor Luxottica Foundation, designed to help eradicate the global vision crisis. OneSight travels throughout the world and sets up temporary clinics where people are screened for eye health concerns and vision correction, and choose a pair of frames; most receive glasses that day. This year, OneSight set up its clinic in Newark, and over the next three days, 320 people were given the gift of better vision. Other organizations involved in the clinic included CVS Health, Aetna, and the Metropolitan Baptist Church.
Many of JVS’s clients took advantage of this clinic. Several of them, who speak only Haitian Creole or communicate through American Sign Language, were accompanied by JVS staff who helped interpret for them. “The doctors and volunteers were kind and thorough. They voluntarily performed an additional exam for a consumer with diabetes after learning they did not have health coverage,” Robert Cadigan said. He is ASL job coach with JVS, and he escorted several people through the screening. “Another consumer with low vision received their first new pair of glasses in 9 years. The old glasses were taped and glued together. Participating in this event was a reminder of how the services JVS provides positively impact the individuals we support in dramatic ways.” He also noticed that because the doctors were so used to working with people who did not speak English, they had developed their own signs to help people understand what was happening during the exam.
JVS’s goal is to help people overcome such barriers to employment as ability, age, immigrant status, racism, education, language, and training. It was a natural fit when JVS was offered the opportunity to participate in the program. The pharmacy technician training program is part of JVS’s Center for Economic Opportunity, its new workforce development initiative.
For more information about Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest, go to www.jvsnj.org.