Our International Work Northeast Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (NEVOSH) is a Rhode Island based group of volunteers dedicated to providing care to the needy. We have no political or religious affiliations and are one hundred percent volunteer. Our roots are in eye care but over time we have expanded our services to offer general medical care, medications, dental care, audiology services as well as eye examinations and glasses. We have had a volunteer mission in a new location within Central America every January for almost three decades. Each mission consists of 55-70 volunteers, normally two thirds health professionals and one third without healthcare backgrounds acting as support staff. We also bring third and fourth year optometric and dental students and provide them with some financial support making it possible to expose them to this work at an early and impressionable point in their careers. This is a very important aspect of our work and almost two hundred students have been sponsored by us since our inception. Our group is self funded with each volunteer paying their own way (except the professional school students). We have quietly served roughly 800,000 of the neediest people in Central America over the past thirty years. View our recent Panama mission on the right of the page or click here.
Our Domestic Work After thirty years of missionary work in Central America many of our members were feeling it was time to do something "back home." It was 2012 and our country was in the fifth year of the deepest economic downturn since the great depression. Everyone has been effected and we all had friends who had lost their jobs. We never could have imagined a need for our type of mission within the United States but the time had come. We partnered with Remote Area Medical (RAM) who had been doing volunteer medical work in the U.S. for many years. A site in Bristol, Tennessee was selected as it was one of the few states in the union that grants out of state doctors a temporary license to come and volunteer within the state. The venue was the Bristol Motor Speedway, the fifth largest stadium structure in the world! The eye, dental, and medical clinics where well equipped allowing us to perform exams similar to the level we would in our offices. The biggest surprise was the type of people we were seeing. Many of us expected to see people coming down from isolated lives in the hills. In reality we saw a lot of middle America, working class people who had just fallen on hard times. The politeness and gratitude rivaled that of any previous mission. It was a pleasure to serve this population. As rewarding as it was helping fellow Americans it was painful to see. As the patients exited the complex following their treatment many stopped off at a mobile food pantry just outside the gate. They where offered a small bag of canned goods and a bag of potatoes before departing. As they continue on their journey hopefully they will remember the volunteers of Northeast VOSH long after the potatoes are gone and the cans are emptied.
We have continued our commitment to volunteer work in the United States working annually in parts of Tennessee and the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia.
Below are four different ways you can support NEVOSH, click any of the following to see more information.
1) Make a Donation
Northeast VOSH is a Rhode Island based charitable 501c3 organization. One hundred percent of all donations go directly to providing care to the needy on our missions. We have no paid officers or members. Donations can be made to: Northeast VOSH C/O Dr Carl A. Sakovits, 1180 Hope Street, Bristol RI 02809.
Make a $600 donation which will make it possible for us to bring a medical, dental, or optomertric student on the next mission. This is an opportunity to help expose a professional school student to volunteerism at an impressionable point in their career. It is possible to co-sponsor if desired. You will receive correspondence and mission photographs from the student you sponsor. Many of our current doctor members came to us through the Sponsor-A-Student Program. Donations for the Sponsor-A-Student Program can be made to: Northeast VOSH C/O Dr Carl A. Sakovits, 1180 Hope Street, Bristol RI 02809.
3) Northeast VOSH Charity Golf Tournament
Held each year at the Montaup Country Club in Portsmouth Rhode Island the first Monday in October. This is the primary fundraiser for Northeast VOSH. All of the proceeds from this fun event go to providing medications and supplies for the upcoming missions. For more information and registration please call Dr. John Kerwin at 401-245-5825, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Donate Glasses
We accept used glasses of all prescriptions on a year round basis. We ask that the glasses be complete with lenses and a frame in good condition. They can be dropped off at our office anytime during normal office hours.
For more information on Northeast VOSH, click here: NEVOSH