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John Marvin

Remember That Charity Begins at Home

You don’t need to go on an optical mission to a foreign country to really help people.




Remember That Charity Begins at Home

MY FATHER ONCE told me that if I wanted to do good in this life I should start by being polite and kind to my sister. That was disappointing advice for a 12-year-old boy but he was right.

There are many organizations dedicated to making a difference in their community, in their state, country and even the world. But if you want to make a difference, start in your practice. Start by listening to the stories of your patients and staff. There are countless opportunities for you to touch the lives of hundreds or even thousands through your network of patients and staff members.

Your patients go to church, volunteer at schools and senior centers. Your staff members are involved in their communities and children’s activities, sports leagues and parent-teacher organizations. Each represents valuable charitable opportunities for you and them.

Two of the more popular programs we offer our organization’s members are a School Nurse Resource Kit and a Sports Coach’s Kit. The School Nurse Kit includes a Snellen Chart, an occluder, several contact lens cases, a large bottle of contact lens wetting solution, an eyeglasses repair kit and a brochure on common vision problems among children and how to address them. We also include a few vouchers for a complete eye exam that are offered to the nurse to use at their discretion for any child who may need eyecare but whose family has financial hardship. Each year our doctors contact local nurses in elementary and middle schools and offer these free kits as a resource for helping them provide care for their students. 

The other program, a Sports Coach’s Kit, is offered to community sports leagues or YMCA sports programs that are often organized and led by volunteers. We know how important sports eye safety is and we provide a free Coach’s eyecare safety kit for each team in the league. It usually contains an eye shield, sterile patch, alcohol swabs, contact lens cases and solution, a pen light, eye wash, eyeglasses repair kit and a safety card that describes important first aid for eye safety. Our doctors volunteer to lead an eye safety orientation each year during the preseason meetings of the volunteer coaches. 

Both are just examples of the countless opportunities we have in our own communities to contribute and make a difference.


Charitable giving is far more impactful when it is a gift of your time and passion. There are families, schools, churches, veteran organizations, shelters and volunteer projects within five miles of your office that are waiting for someone like you to come along and make a difference with your time, passion and charitable contribution.

John D. Marvin has more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic and optometric practice industry. He is the president of Texas State Optical and writes about marketing, management and education at the blog. You can email him at


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