In November 2016, DIFF Charitable Eyewear partnered with the Melanoma Research Foundation to support those battling Ocular Melanoma (OM). The goal was to raise awareness about this lesser-known form of cancer as well as raise funds in hopes of finding a cure for this terrifying diagnosis. DIFF partnered with Bachelorette’s JoJo Fletcher and launched the JoJo Edition of our beloved Cruz frame. For every pair of JoJo Edition Cruz frames purchased, DIFF committed to donating $1 to the Melanoma Research Foundation to support those battling Ocular Melanoma.
DIFF and the OM community strived to hit a goal of a $10,000 donation and thanks to our amazing DIFF Eyewear customers, we met this goal in the first quarter of 2017!! Over the course of this campaign, DIFF was able to bring awareness to over 300,000 people who were unfamiliar with the disease. In addition, we were able to donate $10,000 to help fund research to find a cure for OM!!
On May 21st, DIFF’s Charity Director attended the Miles for Melanoma walk at Universal Studios Hollywood and presented the giant $10,000 check on behalf of the DIFF Charitable Eyewear family!
** We want to thank the many courageous individuals who shared their personal accounts of battles with Ocular Melanoma as well as loved ones who shared fond memories of OM fighters who are no longer with us. We are humbled to have met so many beautiful people during this campaign and are honored to share their stories with you.
To read these personal accounts, visit DIFF on Facebook and check out our photo album, “Ocular Melanoma Campaign.”
For more information about Melanoma Research Foundation’s OM Initiative, visit:
Four doctors, eight optometry students, one inspiring community, and over eight hundred lives changed.
Everyone deserves access to vision care and resources to enhance or restore their sight; however, many developing communities do not have access to such tools or medical staff. DIFF is proud to work alongside Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) as they provide week-long affordable eye clinics to regions who do not have eye care readily available. DIFF donates thousands of glasses to this project and was privileged to further contribute to a week-long eye clinic in the community of Belmopan, Belize.
DIFF’s Charity Director, Bre Piantanida, spent the week volunteering with SVOSH in Belize by providing vision screenings and first-hand assistance throughout the duration of the clinic. Along with Bre, videographer Jon Shoer attended the trip on behalf of DIFF to provide a glimpse into one of the many ways a DIFF Eyewear purchase helps make a DIFFerence.
During the span of this year’s four day clinic in Belize, DIFF and SVOSH were able to enhance and restore vision to 864 people!
The impact of the DIFF and SVOSH partnership is unique as it provides both initial and follow-up eye care clinics. As a dependable, long-term project, these clinics provide standard annual checkups as well as follow-ups with patients seen in previous years.
Individuals in need of medical services past the duration of the clinic are provided the tools and resources necessary to continue vision care. Patients who benefit from glasses are provided relief through the wide-range of eyeglasses donated by DIFF. In addition to services provided during the clinic, families find comfort knowing the project returns to Belmopan annually, guaranteeing them another eye exam the following year.
While volunteering in Belize, Bre was told time and time again how much of an impact DIFF and the doctors were making in Belmopan. Local community members expressed that people look forward to this clinic all year long and are grateful to see the project continue year after year. DIFF is humbled to contribute to such an impactful project and can not wait until next year’s clinic to reconnect with the new additions to the DIFF Charitable Eyewear family!
Thank you SVOSH for allowing DIFF to be part of this powerful project.
Thank you to the amazing community of Belmopan for embracing us with open arms and hearts.
And THANK YOU to all DIFF customers for continuing to help us make a DIFFerence!
DIFF Charitable Eyewear has donated approximately 10,000 units of reading glasses to SVOSH to date and is projected to donate at least another 10,000 units by the end of 2017!
Sky-high dancers on stilts, free haircuts and face paintings, job opportunities and dance parties; this is not your average Saturday in downtown Los Angeles’s infamous skid row. This past weekend, the impoverished district synonymous with homelessness was radiating joy and dancing to the rhythm of hope.
Once a year, The Wayfarer Foundation and the city of Los Angeles join forces to create a street carnival for the resilient and often forgotten, people living on skid row. On Saturday, January 28, 2017, members of the DIFF Eyewear Team spent the day volunteering and donating 3,500 pairs of sunglasses at Skid Row’s Carnival of Love.
In addition to donating glasses and spending the day giving hugs and sharing laughter, DIFF set up an in-house donation center leading up to the Carnival of Love. With less than two weeks between first hearing of the Carnival and the date of the event, we had modest aspirations for the in-office donations. What we thought would be a last-minute donation initiative turned into car loads of everything from blankets and jackets to feminine hygiene products, new toiletries and bedazzled backpacks.
We recognize that not everybody has the resources to donate thousands of pairs of sunglasses. Often, many do not have the means to give tangible goods like food or clothing. One thing we are all able to give back to others, regardless of income, experience, race, or education, is LOVE.
ABOUT THE EVENT
The sensational Carnival of Love event is organized by The Wayfarer Organization— a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization. Founder and actor, Justin Baldoni, has spent his last nine birthdays giving back to the community of skid row and this year was the biggest turn-out to date. Upon realizing that there were too many volunteers at the 2017 Carnival (what a wonderful “problem” to have!), a wave of people took to the streets to serve those in the community who would not be able to make it inside the event due to full capacity. Water, food, hygiene bags, and sunglasses were distributed to thousands of people without access to these necessities.
For those who spent the day inside the Carnival, countless free services were offered: hair cuts, resume workshops, pet grooming, job opportunities, clothing and toiletry donations, meals, carnival games, medical services, dental health, wellness education, and a kid-friendly zone with face painting and bounce house.. just to name a few.
Justin wraps up the day with final acknowledgments and thank you’s, then introduces dear friend and singer/songwriter Andy Grammer who sings his top-hit, “Keep Your Head Up.” The perfect uplifting, inspirational ballad to conclude this event of hope.
As the Carnival comes to an end, our faces sore from a day of big smiles and legs shaky from too much dancing, my cheeks can’t help but dampen with tears of gratitude and humility.
The DIFF Team could not have been more grateful to be a part of such a humbling day. A day of joy and inclusion, to remind these individuals that they are loved, and they have not been forgotten. A day where there is no rich or poor, no us or them, no “other”.. there is only love.
A special thank you to The Wayfarer Foundation and Justin Baldoni for allowing DIFF Eyewear to contribute to such an important cause. We are truly humbled.
“It felt like a one in a million chance I was being heard.”
DIFF Eyewear x Be Strong Global
Be Strong Global is a nonprofit organization providing resources to stop bullying, help teens who are facing depression, and ultimately save lives among the youth of America.
We encourage you to watch this video and see why we feel so inspired to support this great cause!
Joshua is an anti-bullying advocate for Be Strong Global and stands as a voice for the voiceless. This week, Joshua came by the DIFF Headquarters to receive 100 pairs of glasses on behalf of the Be Strong Student Leaders. These glasses will be donated to one hundred boys and girls throughout the nation who are standing up and speaking out against bullying, alongside Joshua.
Dressed to the nines, soft-spoken, an ear-to-ear smile that lights up the DIFF Headquarters, Joshua is not your average eleven (going on twelve) year old.
Since the age of five, Joshua has found comfort in wearing a dress shirt and bowtie because it makes him feel “distinguished”. Hand-in-hand in the city of Los Angeles, Joshua and his mother were homeless for three years; however, she made sure that this period of homelessness did not hinder Joshua’s ability to be himself. She kept his clothes clean, his spirits high, and his heart full of love. Unfortunately, Joshua’s days at school did not help provide any relief.
School became an inescapable dread for Joshua. Most school days, Joshua like so many others fell victim to severe bullying. This bullying took shape in the form of physical as well as emotional abuse and continued for years.
This week, Joshua came by the DIFF Headquarters to meet the team and share his story. While talking to Joshua about his challenges with bullying, he so wisely observes that kids tend to target those they perceive to be “different” because “different is scary”. Joshua shares some of the difficulties that stemmed from this torment but then quickly steers the conversation to focus on the positives. He chooses to look at each day as a new opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who are enduring a similar battle.
Now homeschooled, Joshua invests time in encouraging and inspiring other students. He stresses the value in not allowing bullies to hinder one's ability to achieve their goals.
When asked what he does for fun, Joshua responds, “I am passionate about writing poetry, public speaking, and encouraging others”. This articulate, intelligent, inspiring young man is truly a beam of hope in the lives of so many. Joshua has the brightest of futures ahead of him and DIFF feels so fortunate to stand by his side as he achieves his goals.
Joshua will be taking the SATs this year with hopes of attending Cal State Los Angeles by the time he’s thirteen.
At DIFF, we see the value in making a DIFFerence as well as embracing the beauty in being DIFFerent!! Joshua is the embodiment of this belief.
“Being kind to others is an important piece in the puzzle of change” Joshua Apparicio, 11 yrs.
THE ANTI-BULLYING INITIATIVE
We have been so moved by Joshua’s story that we are partnering with Be Strong Global to put an end to bullying in the United States, once and for all.
December 17th, The DIFF Team volunteered at A Place Called Home, donating 3,000 glasses to the children of Los Angeles.
A Place Called Home (APCH) is located in the heart of South Central, an area that approximately 44% of children are living in poverty. They provide kids in the area with a safe place to go after school, weekends, and throughout the summer. APCH's caring staff and volunteers provide counseling, mentorship, and tutoring to help the students excel. APCH's Mission: "to help the underprivileged youth take ownership of the quality and direction of their lives through programs in education, arts, and well-being and are inspired to make a meaningful difference in their community and the world."
A Place Called Home had an event called "Home For The Holidays", in which kids and their families came to receive gifts and other goods. The DIFF Team volunteered and had so much fun giving out thousands of glasses!