Rotary Club of Marana
Rotary Club of Marana Meeting; September 29th
We welcomed two guests to our meeting today.  Andy Swarthout, a Rotarian with the Presidio Rotary Club, was Randy’s guest.  Andy is checking out different club cultures, and we hope to see him again.  Mary invited Dr. Daniel Twelker to join us.  Dan is an Optometrist and has a PhD in Vision Science.  He has come to talk with us about his work with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity International.
  • PDG Ellie is facilitating a district focus on Peace.  We have accepted the invitation to participate.  Randy will chair the Peace Committee and Mary will serve with him.
  • John thanks Richie for his excellent work maintaining our Facebook page.  He will be  investing some money to upgrade our presence in the community.
  • John also expressed gratitude to Harold from himself and from the district.  Harold has painstakingly managed our ClubRunner for years and has been volunteering his services to other clubs and the district.  Thanks for your service, Harold!
  • World Polio Day October 28th.
  • A youth has contacted our club with interest in Rotary Youth Exchange.  John will follow up.
  • The board has voted to become a Shelter Box Bronze Sponsor.  We have earmarked $1000 donation to Shelter Box for each of the next 3 years.
  • Reminder to members to follow-up with guests regarding Membership.
  • Richie has been partnering with the Special Education Program at Marana High School to assess needs.  As the school is nearing in-class reintegration, safety risk poses unique challenges for kids with special needs.  Because some of these kids can’t and/or can’t reliably wear masks, additional safety methods have been considered.  Air purifiers are known to decrease risk, and the Special Education Program raised enough money to buy two.  Our club will purchase 2 more machines and 4 replacement filters that will be needed for each of the machines in 6 months’ time.  Thanks to Richie for keeping a pulse on our educators’ and kids’ needs in this time of COVID.
Dr. Daniel Twelker is a practitioner, a professor, and a researcher in Optometry and Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.  In addition to his career he is an avid bicyclist, traveler, and advocate for local musicians.  Dan also is a humanitarian and devotes significant time ensuring that underserved people worldwide are afforded the same optical care others receive.  In this capacity, he is currently the President of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity International (VOSH International). 
1 billion persons world-wide develop unnecessary blindness due to lack of eye care.  Things that lead to blindness include unaddressed glasses correction, cataracts, corneal opacities, diabetic retinopathy, and trachoma.  VOSH began in 1972 as a group of volunteers who believed that all people deserve the level of eye care normally afforded only to people of means.  VOSH members traveled for a week at a time to various communities to provide cost-free clinics and eye-glasses, serving approximately 500 people each day.  Over time and with VOSH membership growth, the places and numbers of people served expanded.  Dan’s first clinic participation was in the Philippines in 1989.  Other places VOSH has served include; Oakland and Alameda Counties in Ca, Honduras, Mexico, South Africa, Vietnam, Kenya, Haiti, Nicaragua. 
VOSH consists of local VOSH Chapters and VOSH International.  The Rotary Club of Saddlebrook and Rotario Pitic, for example, coordinate with our local chapter of VOSH to provide clinics in Hermosillo.  Aside from being Optometrists and Ophthalmologists  with a shared vision of volunteering their time and skills to serve, however, local chapters and international are separate entities.   
VOSH International has divested energy from running to clinics.  Instead, it has invested itself in the development of self-sustaining eye care in underserved communities worldwide and in instilling the value of service in young optometrist and Ophthalmologists   Toward this end, VOSH have developed unique programs.   
One is dedicated to Student Involvement.  VOSH encourages students to join or start VOSH Chapters in their schools.  VI offers mentorships and internships and have a Chapter of the Month program.
The VOSH Fellowship Program develops leaders.  Graduates of the fellowship will be able to  advise on the global challenge of preventable blindness.  This includes the ability to foster the development of future leaders to meet the challenges of vision needs worldwide and to be able to consult with governmental agencies, educational, private, or public institutions, and the media on issues related to the mission and vision of VOSH/International.
VOSH Corp, Ambassador and Mentorship programs provide short and long-term teaching and training of educators in vision care programs around the world.  They also provide mentorship to VOSH groups abroad.
VOSH International also has a disaster relief program.  It sends volunteers to sites of devastation from natural disasters to meet immediate vision needs.
We thank Dan for providing us a thoughtful and inspiring presentation on VOSH.  As fellow pursuers in service-above-self, VOSH lightens our hearts. 
Submitted by Mary Straus, October 5, 2020