Every January we write a year in review for the Brookside Optometric Group. The year 2021 was an interesting year for us as it was for everyone else.
The Covid pandemic impacted our professional lives just as it impacted the personal lives of each of our patients. While we did not have to shut down in 2021 as we did the year before many aspects of our care were impacted. We had to decrease our hours in the evenings as well as have one less doctor in each day to allow for social distancing which protected our patients, staff, and our doctors from Covid-19. We strictly followed the CDC and CA Department of Public Health guidelines to the letter to ensure a safe experience for our patients. These guidelines meant that we have not been able to see the faces of our patients for two years now. We wish we could articulate better how much we miss truly seeing each of you as we used to. However, we are happy to say that not a single patient contracted this bug by visiting our office and for that we are grateful. Please know we are aching to get back to the way things were before this virus entered all of our lives. We also greatly appreciate the patience and understanding that all of you gave us during this time.
We also want to publicly commend each of our staff for their extraordinary efforts they put in last year. Due to quarantine requirements, we never had our full staff in on any given day for the entire year. Our staff rallied every time someone was out due to an exposure and did the extra work that short staffing creates without complaint. It was so rewarding to see how dedicated they were to make sure our patients received the best possible care each day.
However, we did not allow Covid to take away the heart of our office. We were still active in our community and did everything we could to show our appreciation to our staff members.
In early 2021 we awarded a graduating senior a $1,000 scholarship to help with their college costs. This year the scholarship was awarded to Jayden Jones. This Edison High School senior is an amazing young man who we know has a bright future ahead of him.
Our office was a gold sponsor for the UOP Orange and Black Ball which raises money for athletic scholarships for the university. We also sponsored the Stockton Walk to End Alzheimer’s as well as the 10 annual Summerfest fund raiser that was again held at Dr Demshar’s home. This event raises money for the central Valley Flying Samaritans, Saint Mary’s Dining Hall, and the Lions Association.
Our doctors were involved with the Stockton Night Out event this year as well as the Stockton Food Bank’s Walk to End Hunger on Thanksgiving Day. The office collected toys for our police department to give to children to make them feel safer and happier when tragedy struck them. The office also collected coats for those in need at the holidays and collected animal blankets for the Stockton Animal center. Our doctors were regular blood donors at the American Red Cross as well as volunteered their time to provide eye exams for the needy with the Tzu Mobile Clinic. Brookside Optometric also supported the Uplift Foundation whose mission is to inspire and empower the homeless in our community through services and programs that provide hope and the steps towards self-sufficiency for a better tomorrow.
Our office continued its yearly commitment to help the cadets at the Stockton Discovery Challenge Academy with their eye care needs. We have provided free eye exams and glasses for the students at the Discovery Challenge Academy since it came to Stockton years ago. The mission of the Discovery Youth Academy National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 15 1/2 - 18 (Must be 16 by graduation) high school At-Risk of not graduating on time, producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. One of their longstanding needs in all their sites nationally is eye care since many of their cadets do not have vision insurance. Brookside Optometric is the only office in the nation to offer their cadets these services for free.
Our doctors were also invited guests by the School of Optometry at UC Berkeley to attend a presentation by the school in appreciation to Dr Herbert Wertheim for donating $50 million to the school to expand their clinical facilities. The VSP Vision Insurance Company also invited our office to share their “Story of Resilience during Covid” at a national educational program for Optometrists. Our doctors were also invited guest at several UC Berkeley educational meetings.
In 2021 we began recording podcasts related to eye care and that highlighted local organizations that make Stockton such a special place to live. These podcasts can be found on Apple, Google, and Spotify. The office also continued their practice of providing tickets and gift certificates to local venues and restaurants in the hope of reminding people of all that there is to do in their community.
We also continued to show our staff how much we appreciate all that they do by having periodic free Starbucks days, catered lunches (including a parking lot taco truck day), birthday celebrations and holiday celebrations. We also had a retirement celebration when our front desk manager Jo Ann retired after over 20 years with us to pursue the life of leisure.
Finally we also grew our office family as our staff had children this year as well as our own Dr Rick and Christine Vanover. The Doctors Melrose also had the pleasure ending the year with the birth of their first granddaughter born on December 30, 2021.
All in all it was an eventful year for Brookside Optometric. We had no idea that 2021 would be so eventful for us and we are looking forward to seeing what 2022 has in store.
We wish to close with a heartfelt thank you for every patient that once again honored us by allowing us to be your doctors. Your continued trust and support of our office means the world to us.