Volunteer for Vision Join Fellow Alums for ‘Trip of a Lifetime’

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family waits to be servicedBy Lindsay Dorrance

“I think my life just changed,” Annina Griggs ’86 said to herself. She had just completed her first service trip to Guatemala with Vision Health International (VHI)—and she has gone back 11 times since, serving as an OR Coordinator and translator in Peru, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico.

Next year, from June 23-30, 2013, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing alumni are invited to join Griggs on a VHI service trip to Piura, Peru.

“I am amazed by how you take a group of people who have never worked together, but within an hour, we are doing surgery like a well-oiled machine in a place where few people know the language, the conditions aren’t ideal, and everyone just makes it work,” says Griggs. “What I love about the trip is that I really connect with all the people there.”

You can join nurses, physicians, technicians, and other volunteers to bring professional vision healthcare services—free of charge—to the medically underserved Peruvian populations. This trip will focus on surgical ophthalmology, primarily strabismus surgery. “It can take an entire family to care for a blind person, so surgery doesn’t just change the life of one individual, it changes a whole family,” says Griggs.

Hopkins nursing alums, especially those with Spanish language skills or a specialty in ophthalmology, are encouraged to apply. Family members and guests will be able to accompany alums based on availability. VHI participants pay their airfare and a portion of in-country expenses for meals and lodging.

“I think of this trip as a working vacation; a trip of a lifetime,” says Griggs. “People have said ‘I never thought I would work this hard, but I would not trade it for anything.’ I know I would not. I keep going back!”

Want to join us in Peru? Contact Lindsay Dorrance, Director of Alumni Relations, at 410-955-4285 or ldorran1@jhu.edu for an application.

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