Community Cares Spotlight Blog #1 - Dr. Diana Fisher at 20/20 Institute Indianapolis
The impact of IBCF and ISBVI would simply not be possible without the generous support of our supporters. Their generosity provides students with visual impairments the essential educational equipment, resources, and programs that are not available anywhere else in the state. As a way of giving back to our sponsors, we want to share the stories of the people who help us make impact.
This week, we spoke with Dr. Diana Fisher, R.N., O.D., CEO and Clinical Director at 20/20 Institute. Dr. Fisher is also an IBCF Board Member.
20/20 Institute is proud to provide world class vision correction in a safe, innovative and welcoming environment and to be focused on accurate education to the patient about options for refractive surgery vision correction.
My first connection with IBCF was through Lindsay Jordan, who was a company rep. and IBCF Board Member. She said, “Hey, there’s this Gala that I do for the Blind School, would you be interested in going?” And said “Sure!” I attended and it just blew me away. It was over the top incredible. It was the best fundraiser I have ever been to in my life. And I was like, “okay, I want to get involved in this fundraiser.”
So I started working on the Gala and was then approached to go and tour the School. That was probably the moment when I became more acutely aware of the actual Foundation itself and that the Gala is just one way that the Foundation raises money. I didn't really understand that connection until I went to the school. When I toured the school, I cried the entire time, it was just overwhelming to see how amazing and dedicated the teachers and the staff were. I met the children and went into a classroom and saw the joy that the kids had. It was tears of joy.
It's like a family when you go there and I'm very family oriented, if you know my business it's all about family. And then I had this connection because as a child, I wasn't blind, but I started wearing glasses when I was two years old. So that's the main reason I became an eye doctor is that self-experience and wanting to help others, and so it just pulled my heartstrings.
So then I was invited by the Executive Director to become a part of the Indiana Blind Children's Foundation. And this amazing group of people ties into me as a person because I'm very professional, I own this business and I'm very systematic. The Foundation allows me this business part with the finance and the strategic planning. Because it’s a non-profit business, we’re always asking, “How is this business going to last so that these children are able to maintain an education and have the school for the rest of their lives and for future generations to help them to succeed?”
So as I became more involved in the Foundation, the awareness of the need for the children at that school was just compounded. I didn't realize that the school was funded like any other Indiana public school. They receive the same amount of money as any other public school and obviously these children have greater needs than what can be funded with that. So the Foundation is there to augment the school funding from the state because there's honestly just no way that they could survive and do everything that they do for these children without additional funding, it's just not possible. So that's what we're there for and that's what I'm so passionate about. These kids need so much more technology, training, and life skills and help to get a job.
“As I became more involved in the Foundation, the awareness of the need for the children at that school was just compounded. They get the same amount of money as any other public school and obviously these children have greater needs than what can be funded with that.”
I went to the high school graduation last year and heard the valedictorian and the salutatorian speeches and it was probably the best high school valedictorian and salutatorian speeches I've ever heard in my entire life. These kids are going to Purdue and IU. They are highly intelligent, very capable human beings. They want to be social workers, they want to be engineers, and they can be all of these wonderful things if given the opportunity, but they have to be given the opportunity. People have to be aware of what they're capable of and I don't think as a society we even have a glimpse of that. So that's why I’m a part of the Foundation, it's not just about money, it's about making a future for these kids.
Now as a full time advocate, I have things all around my office that point to IBCF and ISBVI. For example, the students did this beautiful artwork for me that's displayed in the office hallways. The students also made these little artwork magnets. We hand them out to our patients as just a little give away. It’s about constantly having the awareness that most people don't really think about students with visual impairments. I’m constantly planting those little seeds by talking about what the school is, who's involved, and what they do there. So, I really am trying to get the word out there and I hope that other people and organizations can get involved.