WHO WE ARE
To date, the Olive Tree Foundation for Education (OTFE) has provided over 400 scholarships. With the funding and help of independent donors, AMB Foundation, The Port Saint Lucie Rotary Club, and the Treasure Coast Optometric Society, students were selected by committees in their respective schools in Lima and Huancayo, Peru.
The foundation sponsors students in Peru, who have great academic ability, but lack the financial means to pursue a college education. OTFE believes that helping young people succeed impacts their lives in such a way that instead of seeking to illegally immigrate into other countries out of frustration and desperation, they remain in their own countries to work, fulfill their careers, and prosper.
The students represent a variety of professional degrees that will enable them to achieve financial independence and create small business in their local communities. Currently, the students represent academic majors in Nursing, Psychology, and Optometry. The majority of scholars are selected from Universidad Peruana Los Andes, Escuela Superior de Optica y Optometria, and Universidad San Martin de Porres.
In addition to OTFE’s work, Dr. Olivos had the privilege of hosting many cost-free eye care missions since July of 2006 in Lima, Huancayo and Cuzco, Peru. In addition to Peruvian missions, Dr. Olivos has also traveled to the Dominican Republic to provide free eye care and health care education. Dr. Olivos is passionate in collaborating in multidisciplinary teams comprised of psychology, optometry, opthamology, nutrition, cardiology, and dentistry in his service work. A notable supporter and donor includes Illinois College of Optometry, Dr. Olivos’ alma mater. ICO has graciously provided 3rd year optometry students and instruments to provide quality services in Dr. Olivos’ eye care missions.
Dr. Olivos, his students, and fellow medical volunteers were able to serve over 14,000 people cumulatively in underserved Peruvian regions. Approximately 250 eye surgeries were performed and over 12,000 pairs of eyeglasses were given out to economically disadvantaged people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to eye care. One scholarship, one eye exam, one pair of glasses, or one surgery carries an underestimated but profound impact that changes lives.
WHAT WE DO
Eliminate Poverty Through Education
William and his wife, Susan, lived, worked and raised their family in Peru, William’s native land, from1994 - 1999, during which time they witnessed daily the devastating effects of extreme poverty on countless children and their families.
In an effort to make at least a small difference in the lives of the poverty stricken individuals that they would encounter, William would hand out pocket change to beggars and Susan would buy extra cans of milk at the market and distribute them to the poor families who would beg outside of the markets.
One day, while on a walk together, they discussed their frustration about Peru’s poverty. They concluded that one of the major roots of poverty is a lack of education and that while it’s good to give people fish to eat, so to speak,it’s even more effective and helpful to teach them how to fish.
William and Susan perceived their move back to the United States in 1999 as a God-given opportunity to improve their own financial situation.
In 2004 they were able to open their own optometry practice. In their thankfulness to God, they vowed that they would pay the blessing forward. Thus they established the Olive Tree Foundation for Education, a nonprofit organization that awards scholarships to brilliant but financially underprivileged students in Latin America.
Their hope has always been to reach out to these students who may be vulnerable to the temptations of destructive activities such as illegal immigration, terrorism, or illegal drug trafficking, and thus help them to overcome the obstacles of poverty and become productive and beneficent citizens of their countries.