Our research, experience, and evaluation has enabled us to develop a highly successful pre-service training and orientation process that ensures that volunteers are fully prepared to contribute to the success of the Unite For Sight programs.
All of the Unite For Sight pre-service requirements can only be completed once a participant applies for and is accepted to the Unite For Sight program. Unite For Sight provides an easy-to-use personal login page so that fellows can keep track of their pre-service progress and access all relevant program-specific details and materials, program manuals, phone numbers, and important links, as well as email addresses of their fellow volunteers and alumni participants.
- Global Impact Training: Fellows are trained in global health and global problem solving by Unite For Sight's pioneering training program, which includes Unite For Sight's Global Health Online Course, Cultural Competency Online Course, Volunteer Ethics and Professionalism Online Course, Social Entrepreneurship Overview, Community Eye Health Online Course, articles about The Importance of Sustainable Development in Eye Care, Effective Health Education, Rumors and Word of Mouth, Overview of Spending at the Base of the Pyramid, and Photography and Ethics, as well as a TED Video about cultural understandings and misperceptions. Global Impact Fellows also complete a Program-Specific Training Course in which they watch short online videos and read articles about the program site where they will be volunteering.
- Shadow an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist: Global Impact Fellows (those who are not eye care professionals) complete a series of steps to learn about eye disease, eye anatomy, and eye health. They begin by completing an Online Eye Health Course. Global Impact Fellows also must shadow an eye doctor for 2-3 days in their local community to learn about eye anatomy and eye health. Volunteers are given a list of lessons that they should learn during the shadowing experience. For example, what are cataracts, and how does surgery restore sight? What is the proper way for a patient to administer their eye medication? The knowledge they gain from shadowing is important to enable Global Impact Fellows to support and assist the partner eye clinics in Ghana, Honduras, and India.
How do I coordinate the shadowing? Global Impact Fellows coordinate their shadowing with a local eye doctor in their own community, which can be done at either a private eye doctor's office, or at a university department of ophthalmology or optometry. Most all Global Impact Fellows are able to swiftly coordinate training with a local eye doctor of their own choosing. However, we also have a list of ophthalmologists and optometrists who have trained Global Impact Fellows in previous years, and we can direct you to one of them as well.
Special instructions for clinical students: Clinical medical students and clinical optometry students who have already completed clinical rotations should be familiar with the training skills. Therefore, they do not need to complete the 2-3 day training program with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Instead, they may have their clinical instructor (an ophthalmologist or optometrist) sign the Unite For Sight Eye Training Certificate to confirm that the volunteer has already learned the skills required of all Unite For Sight volunteers during their clinical rotation. Ophthalmology residents do not need to complete the training or submit the eye training form.
- Insurance: It is important for anyone traveling abroad to have security, medical assistance, and medical expense reimbursement insurance coverage. All Global Impact Fellows are required to purchase security and medical assistance insurance, as well as medical expense reimbursement insurance, through International SOS.
- Passport, VISA, Vaccinations: Receive a Passport and VISA, and get vaccinations and a physical exam. All participants are required to receive all necessary vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis for travel in accordance with The Travelers' Health Report from the National Center of Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control
- Obtain/Receive Eyeglasses: Global Impact Fellows obtain at least 600 reading glasses or sunglasses for donation to the partner eye clinic in the destination country. Most volunteers simply order eyeglasses from organizations such as RestoringVision (U.S.-based volunteers), New Eyes For The Needy (U.S.-based volunteers), Lion's Club (Canada-based volunteers, Australia-based volunteers, and others), and other similar organizations worldwide. These organizations will ship the supply of eyeglasses directly to the Global Impact Fellow by postal mail. The highest quality eyeglasses come from RestoringVision, which receives overstocked glasses that would otherwise be discarded by eyeglass companies. The cost for the glasses varies by the supplier. Eyeglasses from the Lion's Club are usually shipped free of charge ($0), while RestoringVision charges 45 cents per eyeglass pair (including shipping), and New Eyes For The Needy charges a minimal shipping cost. After receiving the reading glasses and sunglasses in the mail, Global Impact Fellows pack the collection into their suitcase to transport to the eye clinic abroad. These reading glasses and sunglasses are distributed to patients by the eye clinic where the volunteer participates. Upon acceptance to the Unite For Sight program, fellows receive detailed instructions and contact information for obtaining reading glasses and sunglasses.
- Fundraise (100 % provides eye care to patients): All Global Impact Fellows fundraise at least $1,800 for Unite For Sight's international eye care programs, except professionals (fully licensed, fully trained and practicing optometrists and ophthalmologists who provide skills transfer to local eye care professionals, as well as professional filmmakers and photographers who are participating in a professional capacity), who fund raise at least $600 for the eye care programs.
Fundraising is an essential part of a fellow's contribution to patients living in extreme poverty. 100 % of the fundraising efforts by Unite For Sight's fellows provide poor patients with free eye care and sight-restoring surgeries. Each cataract surgery costs $50 on average, so every dollar you fundraise has a tremendous impact on the lives of children and adults. Additionally, your pre-departure fundraising efforts help to create public awareness about global eye care needs, allowing you to make a huge impact before you even go abroad.
Can I personally pay the $1,800 instead of fundraising? Yes, you may submit the $1,800 fundraising requirement as a personal donation if you prefer. Global Impact Fellows rarely pursue this option. We advise you to fundraise among family and friends since this is a great opportunity to engage your family and friends in your upcoming experience abroad. By simply sending their personalized fundraising page to all of their family and friends, Global Impact Fellows usually far exceed the $1,800 fundraising minimum, and they are therefore able to have an even greater impact on the patients living in extreme poverty. Additionally, by fundraising, you will not need to personally submit the monies. However, if you prefer to personally pay the $1,800, that is absolutely fine.Easy-To-Use Personalized Fundraising Page: To help with fundraising efforts, Unite For Sight creates a personal donation fundraising page for all of its Global Impact Fellows and provides a Fundraising Toolkit. Unite For Sight's Global Impact Fellows are very successful with their fundraising initiatives, and fundraising often requires very little of a volunteer's time since they only need to email their fundraising website link to friends and family. As their friends and family submit donations, Unite For Sight automatically records the donations and sends an email to the volunteer as each donation arrives. All donors receive a receipt for tax purposes, and the donations are tax-deductible to the full extent provided by U.S. law. It usually takes no more than one month for a volunteer to reach the $1,800 minimum fundraising amount, and some volunteers even reach the fundraising minimum within one week. If a volunteer falls short of the fundraising minimum, they may complete their fundraising requirement by submitting the balance from their personal funds. For example, if they are $100 short of the fundraising requirement, they would submit a personal donation of $100 to reach the $1,800 minimum.
Click To View Examples of Volunteer Fundraising Pages
How easy is it to fundraise with the online fundraising page? You will find that your family and friends are excited to support your fundraising efforts for a cause and organization that are important to you. You will likely find that it takes no more than one month to reach the $1,800 minimum fundraising amount, and some volunteers even reach the fundraising minimum within one week. College student Daniel Yeboah-Kordieh, for example, anticipated that fundraising would be difficult, but he ultimately raised $1981 within a few weeks. He explains: "The learning experience of the Global Impact Corps Program began way before I actually arrived in Ghana. I initially flinched when I was told raising a minimum of $1800 was a prerequisite to participating in the program. Given that I was a freshman international student, who barely knew anyone in the United States, I sincerely thought this amount would be impossible to raise. However, this turned out to be a life lesson of ‘tenacity in the face of challenges’ that this program would teach me. I had the immense support of officials at Unite For Sight’s office, who would call me, and discuss innovative fundraising techniques with me. In addition I was given a fundraising webpage that streamlined the process. Within a few weeks, I had raised way more than the minimum requirement; I was forced to think outside the box, push myself, persist and overcome a challenge I thought was impossible."
- Upon acceptance to the program, Global Impact Fellows are required to submit a reimbursable deposit to confirm their commitment and to hold their place in the program. The deposit is fully reimbursed after a Global Impact Fellow successfully completes the Unite For Sight program. Therefore, after completing the Unite For Sight program, volunteers will have submitted no personal funds to Unite For Sight, unless they choose to personally donate. The reimbursable deposit insures that all confirmed fellows will follow through with their commitment to Unite For Sight by participating in the program as planned, and that they will complete their pre-departure requirements.