Thursday, May 01, 2008

Abington High School Guest Speakers

At our April 17th meeting we had two guest speakers from Abington High School, Mary Rodgers and Jennifer Parke.

Mary Rodgers (right) has been working with students, getting them involved in service to the community since 1968. She is currently the Service Learning Facilitator at Abington High School. She’s been a past Leo advisor, is a current member of the Glenside Lions Club, and also volunteers with VOSH, an organization the Lions know too well. She was voted the top service learning practitioner in the US in 2008.

Mary’s role involves working with students to get them involved with community service activities. The high school requires community service hours in order to graduate, and Mary helps the students choose projects, plan them, see them through, and also helps them realize that service need not be something you “have to do”, it’s something you’re likely to derive some self satisfaction from.

Mary came to visit us primarily to tell us of her recent visit to Guatemala to assist VOSH in a humanitarian trip delivering needed eye care to local inhabitants.

Jennifer Parke (left) is a senior at Abington Senior High School. She also visited Guatemala with Mary to help VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity). She helped bring needed vision supplies to the country, and also served as a translator, having taken several years of Spanish language education in school.

She witnessed and assisted in numerous cataract surgeries, and worked one-on-one with vision-impaired Guatemalans in several towns. Before traveling, she also assisted in sorting, cataloguing, cleaning, and repairing some of the 4,000 pair of eyeglasses that VOSH brought to Guatemala during this trip.

Together, along with VOSH, Jennifer and Mary helped treat 2,500 people, dispensing several hundred pair of eyeglasses, and assisting in 99 cataract surgeries. They were both also responsible for carrying over 50 pounds of gear apiece. Here at home, they helped process over 10,000 pair of eyeglasses just last year. Those of you who missed the meeting missed a great opportunity to meet two people doing tremendous things to help preserve eyesight. The stories these two ladies told were both riveting and also humorous at times, but always inspirational. Both ladies were also very well spoken and vibrant. You can’t inspire others without those qualities!

Jennifer’s trip so touched her, that she has changed her declared college major course of study, and now wishes to become an eye doctor.

The Horsham Lions extends both ladies congratulations for their efforts, and encouragement to continue!


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