When Viktoria Davis, OD, was hired to open a satellite office in 1999, she says that she knew from the start that volunteering in the rural community of Madelia, Minnesota, would be an important component of her business. “Community service has always been a cornerstone of my life ever since I was a child,” she says. “It was something my parents really believed in and instilled in my brother and me.” She adds that the relationships fostered over time bring great fulfillment and success to her personally and the practice.
Giving back is embedded in the practice mission statement: Through education, community service, and charity we connect with our community to serve and foster relationships. The full mission statement is displayed in every room of the office, and monthly staff meetings are started by reading it aloud. “It’s not just something on a piece of paper that we shove in the back. We really try to live our mission statement because it exemplifies who we are and what we do.” She encourages her staff to give back personally or professionally, and patients frequently comment on the signage they see around the office. “They say to me, ‘You really believe in this, and we can tell.’”
Dr. Davis focused on building relationships with the local schools and helping the young members of her town start their education with a foundation of great vision. “It’s not something I do specifically to build my practice,” she says. “Helping people and making sure that they get the care they need is the right thing to do.” Every year, she visits the elementary school with her main technician to provide vision screenings. She’s connected with an area college, and nursing students also join them. “The nursing students get more exposure to the eyes than they would in a classroom, and the elementary kids get really good vision screenings.”
Over the years, Dr. Davis has developed special relationships with many in the small community of 2,400 residents. When some of these residents have passed away, the office has made a contribution to Optometry Giving Sight in their honor. “It’s a token that shows the family that those patients are meaningful to us, and their eyes were important to them because they chose to come here.”
Giving to your community doesn’t have to break the bank or consume all of your time. Dr. Davis says that every effort matters. “For practice owners, being charitable doesn’t preclude that this is a business and our livelihood,” she says. “You can really make a
difference for people and their lives by giving a little bit.”