Keeping an eye on Douglas: How this alum helps give the gift of education
By Carly Whetter, Foundation and Alumni Relations
When Sherry Klassen began her studies at Douglas College to become an optician, she had no idea she was starting to build a relationship that would continue into her career.
20 years after graduating from Douglas, the Dispensing Opticianry grad is a Regional Sales Manager at HOYA Vision Care Canada, an international optical lens manufacturer with a long history of charitable work. Over the last 14 years – thanks to Sherry – HOYA has donated an estimated $150,000 in lenses and award funding to Douglas College.
“When I was at Douglas, we always needed lenses to edge and learn more about the materials. I always wondered where they came from,” says Sherry. “When I had the opportunity to donate our unused lenses, I wanted to give them to Douglas. I know from experience that having hands-on experience with the materials makes students better opticians, and HOYA has the ability to support this.”
Donations like these don’t go unnoticed.
“Donations go a long way in supporting student learning,” says Tony Viani, Coordinator of the Douglas College Dispensing Opticianry program, and one of Sherry’s former instructors. “They allow students to practise fitting progressive and single-vision lenses into plastic and metal frames. Not only does it allow them to practise skills necessary to work in the industry, but it also enables the department to purchase other equipment and tools there may not have otherwise been funds for.”
Wide lens on education
The Dispensing Opticianry program continues to work with and seek a variety of partners like HOYA Vision Care to provide opportunities for applied learning, from donations of inventory management software to PPE for students both in the classroom and during their practicums.
Beyond their annual lenses donations, HOYA Vision Care also contributes annually to the HOYA Vision Care of Canada Award of Distinction, which recognizes Douglas College students enrolled in their first year of the Dispensing Opticianry program who receive the highest academic standing in their Practical Skills lab.
“We aim to be a true partner to eye care professionals at every stage of their career, through thick and thin,” says Sherry. “We’re here to help students, not only by providing the best technology available, but by contributing to their education and training so they’re equipped to succeed in the industry. If every lab across Canada donated to programs like Douglas’s, all of our future opticians would have great resources.”
To learn more about how you or your company can help build responsive learning environments at Douglas College, visit the Douglas College Foundation website.