An “Eye-Opening” Partnership

January 12, 2023 | Benay Hicks

It’s Dream Big season (will we see you on Monday?) and in the spirit of community, equity, and literacy for all, I want to share about one of our new partners! The City of Medicine Volunteer Medical Corps is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and member of the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics. They recruit, train, and manage volunteers to help provide preventative healthcare services to schools and community groups serving children and adolescents in Durham.

VMC was founded in the fall of 2020 to provide assistance with COVID-19 specific needs like temperature taking and arrival symptom screening. Since their founding, they have expanded their work to include the following goals:

We are dedicated to supporting families in Durham County.

We aim to bring accessible, high quality and free preventive healthcare to children and adolescents in Durham through collaboration with local non-profit organizations.

We aim to greatly increase access to preventive services such as vision screenings, sports physicals, routine vaccinations, and mental health resources, particularly for underserved youth in our community.

We aim to empower children and adolescents to maintain whole-life wellness through lifestyle interventions such as healthy eating, healthy sleep patterns, physical activity, stress management, fostering positive social connections, and avoiding risky substances.

VMC’s Volunteer Coordinator, Larissa, recently contacted Book Harvest with a request to provide books to kids after they receive vision screenings at school…and we are now providing books for VMC’s six vision screenings at Durham Public Schools this semester! The first screening session was held this week; Larissa emailed us the photos below and declared it a success, “The kids LOVED getting to pick out a book after vision screenings today!” The whole vision event involves four local non profits, including Durham Tech’s mobile health unit, and Project SIGHT. After the VMC does the screenings, students who are identified are offered free full vision exams and free glasses! Last year the VMC did over 1000 screenings which led to 200 pairs of glasses!

VMC exists to “bridge the gap to a healthier Durham,” and we are thrilled that they are including literacy in their work. And these photos are definitely a sight for sore eyes!

The City of Medicine VMC is supported by a grant from the AmeriCorps Volunteer Generation Fund through VolunteerNC in the Office of Governor Roy Cooper, and their work is made possible through a partnership with the Durham Public Schools Foundation.