Posted: Fullerton, CA, September 25, 2012
A record $200,000 was raised at the Southern California College of Optometry's Shared Visions Gala and V-Awards held on September 20. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda was the setting for the second annual fundraising gala to facilitate top-tier healthcare education and the delivery of innovative vision care for Orange County's children.
"Our vision is to champion the effort to ensure every child in Orange County is ready to learn by the time he or she enters school by providing essential vision care," stated SCCO President Kevin L. Alexander, O.D., Ph.D. "One in four children struggle with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems. We want to change that.
"SCCO has been a major provider of vision care to children; however, we want to do more. We can do more. We want every child in Orange County to receive a comprehensive eye exam before he or she enters kindergarten," Dr. Alexander told the 300 Gala attendees. "We want every child to be ready to learn; and to achieve this we will be taking our vision care program on-the-road to more schools and community healthcare facilities in Orange County and beyond."
Serving for a second year, as Honorary Co-Chairs were Community Philanthropists, Frances and Steve Knott, and Orange County PBS SoCal Anchor Maria Hall-Brown, served as Master of Ceremonies.
"We were once again quite pleased with the outpouring of support and generosity, which truly exceeded our expectations," stated the Knotts.
This year the distinguished V-Awards recognized members of the community for their volunteer and humanitarian service and two national vision care programs. These awards are based upon service and contributions over time that have significantly advanced the stature and integrity of mankind.
SCCO's 2012 V-Award Recipients included: Abbott Medical Optics, V-Award for Corporate Service and accepted by Jeff Castillo, M.B.A., Abbott Medical Optics Divisional Vice President, Commercial Operations, Americas; Fullerton Resident James H. Blake, V-Award for Community Service; SCCO Alumnus Donald E. Studt, O.D., V-Award for Individual Service; Ophthalmologist Thomas S. Tooma, M.D., V-Award for Global Service; and InfantSEE, V-Award for Special Program Achievement, accepted by SCCO Alumnus and President of the American Optometric Association Ronald L. Hopping, O.D., M.P.H.
Gala Sponsors included: Gold Sponsors Essilor, NVISION Laser Eye Centers and the Knott Family; Silver Sponsors Abbot Medical Optics and VISTAKON; Bronze Sponsors Alcon, Allergan, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at UCI, Heine, PERC LP, Retina Institute of California, Windes and McClaughry and VSP Global; and Crystal Sponsors Luxottica and Bausch and Lomb.
The evening began with an elegant Cocktail Reception where guests were treated to a special preview of the College's acclaimed Shared Visions Art Exhibit for 2012–13, celebrating the artistic accomplishments of artists who are visually impaired or legally blind, highlighting their abilities, talents and achievements.
The featured artist for this year's Gala, Arlissa Vaughn, created a "Live Painting" during the Cocktail Reception entitled, "Hope for Vision," highlighting the event's main focus on children's vision. Upon the painting's completion, it was auctioned off to the highest bidder during the fun and fast-paced Live Auction. A former resident of Seal Beach, California, Ms. Vaughn, now of Las Vegas, New Mexico, was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa seven years ago. She has participated for the past four years in SCCO's Shared Visions Art Exhibit.
Dinner was served in the East Room of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and the evening's entertainment was provided by Singer Marlenna Coulston Barber, who herself is legally blind due to Albinism. Highlighting the program was the presentation of the V-Awards.
The evening culminated with a Live Auction that included a "Fund-a-Need" segment that brought in additional funds for the College to realize its dream of acquiring a mobile vision van. The van will be used to conduct vision care outreach to children within the Orange County community.
Next year's Shared Visions Gala and V-Awards will be held, Thursday, September 19, 2013.