Social Vision trying to solve a genetic skin condition with the help of Dra. Yadira Tapia, Dermatologist.

Cuenca Expats Magazine, Issue 42

Photos: Courtesy of  Social Vision

Seniors and children who don’t have the means to buy needed medicine or eyeglasses, let alone pay for vision-saving examinations and corrective surgeries, have been given new hope by the new kid in town, the Social Vision Foundation.

In July of 2022, Social Vision was created. Social Vision serves the people of Cuenca, both children and adults—unfortunate people who fall through the cracks. Yes, Social Vision helps people with eye problems, such as those needing glasses or surgery. Approximately 50% of what it does is based on vision, and the other 50% helps people with their general medical necessities.

It is the dream child, as it were, of expats Jim and Jennifer Cory and Cuencano Dr. Ivan Vallejo, who saw a very serious need in the Cuenca Community—medical services for all ages, but especially the elderly who need help.

Too often Jim and his wife, Jennifer, would see people in a pharmacy who either did not have enough funds to fill a prescription or for the medicine they needed and would leave the pharmacy empty handed. After seeing people in pharmacies struggling to pay for prescriptions or walking away because they did not have the money, Jim approached a local pharmacy and worked out an agreement with them. He regularly provided a certain amount of money and the pharmacy would make up the difference from Jim’s generosity to fill the prescription. It did not take long before the word was out. As Jim stated, “there is nothing

Ecuador Social Vision Logo

I won’t do to help this community… nothing.” Jim soon began to look to see where the need was more significant. As if an answer to a prayer, in stepped Dr. Ivan Vallejo who is a tireless warrior for the people of Azuay Province. Dr. Vallejo is Social Vision’s medical director. He works at Monte Sinai Hospital and is also the president of Orthopedics and Traumatology for all of Azuay Province.

He not only assisted them to get started, but he continues to help by seeing Social Vision patients at the drop of a hat. After much discussion, Dr. Vallejo and Jim came up with the concept of incorporating expats into Social Vision’s services since many expats really don’t know where to turn for their medical needs.

Expats can contact Social Vision where they are connected to a specialist. The doctors involved with Social Vision either don’t charge for an office visit or they offer greatly reduced fees. That can make a big difference in getting the patients the help they need. Instead of paying for the office visit, the doctors suggest that the expats donate to Social Vision to help raise funds. It is a win-win for everyone.

Once it became viable, Social Vision signed a contract with Monte Sinai who gives deep discounts to patients from Social Vision on everything from bloodwork to band aids. Jessica Moscoso at Monte Sinai works hard to see that Social Vision patients get everything they need. With reduced costs, Social Vision is able to serve more people. Less than a year since its inception, Social Vision has helped more than 60 people, officially, with medical needs. Unofficially, over 100 more people have been aided while

dr. ivan vallejo

the foundation awaited its nonprofit status. Social Vision’s main hospital agreement is with Monte Sinai, but they also have agreements with Clinica Latino and work with many doctors from Hospital del Rio.

One of the first friends Jim and Jennifer made in Cuenca was Robert Mora, owner of El Mercado restaurant. He told them, “I am there for you and with anything you need.” They had no idea just how much they would come to rely on him. He gladly agreed to become a member of the Board of Directors when Social Vision began.

Robert set them on the path of obtaining a non-profit status in Ecuador—something they were told was nearly impossible. Social Vision is now recognized as a non-profit not only in Ecuador, but in the United States as well.

In addition to Jim, president and board member, and Jennifer, board member and secretary, board members are made up of people from the community. They were selected because they have proven they are people who can get things done.


For example, Ray and Linda Lewis are expats who are very successful at raising money and work tirelessly to promote Social Vision; Brian Hitsky is the treasurer and keeps Social Vision in line with every detail required to maintain its non-profit status; and Ana Puyol, who is an expert in everything Ecuador and has worked for non-profit foundations worldwide her entire career. Also, for all things social media, they are lucky to have a teenage genius, Harshita Madhan, from California.

Social Vision President Jim Cory meeting people on his daily walks in Cuenca and then providing necessary medicine.

Social Vision, in addition to working with the hospitals, also works with a wide range of specialists. Some of Social Vision’s team players are Dr. Guillermo Lopez, pain management, Dr. Carlos Arias, neurosurgeon, Dr. Andres Astudillo, general surgeon, Dra. Margarita Aveiga, neurologist, Dr. Bolivar Quito, pediatric neurologist and Dra. Yadira Tapia, dermatologist.  One of its biggest surprises has been the number of doctors who have reached out to offer their services, based on the Foundation’s outstanding reputation for helping people. Social Vision has a long-term friendship with Exilaser, an ultra-modern clinic specializing in screening for vision problems and offering discounts for glasses. This relationship has turned into a great benefit for the foundation because of the expertise of Dr. Giuseppe Miotto, Dr. Diego Torres and Dra. Naty Torres. Claudia Tonon, Exilaser’s social worker has been a valuable asset, assisting Social Vision in accessing a patient’s issues. If Social Vision doesn’t have a specialist for a particular need, they make it their business to find one.

Jim and Jennifer work tirelessly, as do all the volunteers and doctors who are part of the Social Vision team of players. Yet, there is one important member who has yet to be mentioned. This member loves attention and seems to attract notice wherever he goes. That conversation starter is an adorable little Pomeranian puppy named Teddy. A tiny little ball of fluff that is like dynamite when it comes to breaking the ice and being a conversation starter. Teddy is Jim’s service dog and assists him with his Parkinson’s disease. Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than 20 years ago. If he has a problem, Teddy has a very distinctive bark that immediately gets your attention.

Teddy is extremely intuitive, keeps a close eye on Jim, and loves making people happy. Not only does he assist Jim, but he has helped Social Vision connect with its patients and help ease their worries. He is known throughout Cuenca and puts a smile on everyone’s face. People are attracted, like a magnet, to that little ball of fur and always stop to speak with Jim and Jennifer. Service dogs are very important to people like Jim who have a problem with balance, or per-

Dr. Ivan Vallejo, Social Vision’s Medical Director - Jim Cory providing necessary hand holding support

haps epilepsy, and those dogs alert their owners that a seizure is about to happen so that the person can sit down or lie down and not be injured by a fall. Service dogs, or support animals, are not very common in a medical setting in Ecuador. They are not allowed in most places, except a restaurant that is “pet” friendly. Social Vision is hoping to change this point of view. With Teddy’s help, they are slowly altering this opinion. A lot of work still needs to be done in that area as people, for example, who may have a seeing-eye dog are not allowed to bring them into Supermaxi or many other stores or malls.  Even after explaining they need the animal, and it has a “Service Dog” jacket, people are still denied entrance.

Jim does not let his disability interfere with his work in getting the word out about Social Vision and how important it is for the Cuencano and expat community. To watch him in action and how he talks about Social Vision and what it can do for the community, you would never know that he himself has problems. Social Vision only works within Cuenca. Perhaps, later down the line, they may expand to other parts of Ecuador, but for now Cuenca is more than enough for them to handle.

When asked what Jim wished the expat community to know about Social Vision, he replied that he urged expats to follow his example and give back to the community any way they can. Even the smallest positive action or a simple donation can help those in need. If a guy with Parkinson’s disease can do it, anyone can.

Social Vision Board Members Luis Torres, Attorney, Brian Hitsky, Roberto Mora, Jim Cory and Ray Lewis, Board Mem

Social Vision is a registered non-profit foundation both here in Ecuador as well as in the United States. It has no paid employees. All of its staff are made up of volunteers. Operating costs are kept very low, and they have been fortunate to have many of their corporation needs met by finding volunteer providers.

Yes, there is a new kid in town, and like the pebble thrown into a pond, they are having a ripple effect on not only the Cuencano community, but the expat community as well. 

They are a ray of sunshine and a beacon of hope for many people here in Cuenca and they can use all the help they can get. It is the organization’s hope and dream that Social Vision becomes a truly self-sustaining entity that will continue on long after Jim and Jennifer are no longer able to work. Won’t you help Social Vision in its efforts to help those who are not getting the help they need—be it medical, food or other needs, by making a donation.

For more information on Social Vision, or if you would like to make a donation or find out how you can help, you can contact Social Vision at the following:
  • email:  
  • phone: +593 093 998 7282

Social Vision may be the new kid in town, but it is definitely one that walks the walk and does not just give lip service.

Social Vision is a much-welcomed addition to the Cuenca community.

Click the icons bellow to check Social Vision’s social media and network 👇 

If you want to enjoy the full edition, please click below!