Stories:

Fort Collins is Better Because of Edge Optics

Everyone has a story. Your business has a story. Your organization has a story.

At Story On, we love telling stories worth being told. 

Edge Optics is owned by Mason and Mindy Bryant. Mason and Mindy are a young, fun couple with a beautiful family. They are uniquely Colorado-chic and 100% child friendly.

When you think of values most Coloradans share, you may think of sustainability, outdoor living, recycling, and helping one another. Edge Optics epitomizes Colorado values.

When I met Mindy and Mason, I was immediately drawn to them. It was clear that they care about people. I never felt like a potential sale or just some customer. Mindy asked me about myself, my life, what I do, and the things I care about.

The kindness and care these two demonstrate is certainly one of the secrets to their success.

To know Edge Optics, you have to know that Mason didn’t decide to become an optometrist because he thought it would be a good way to make money. Mason set out to help people.

In Mason’s senior year of high school his eyes were attacked by a disease known as AMPEE or if you like science, Acute Multifocal Placoid Pigment Epitheliopathy. This disease stole Mason’s vision entirely only months before graduating high school. Mason was blind for three months.

Mason’s family did what they could to find tutors to help him and read to him. They struggled to find a solution to help Mason attend college.

They were unsure if he would be able to attend school at all.

Thankfully, Mason’s eyesight returned after those challenging three months.

Due to Mason’s personal struggle with vision loss, his life was set on a career path to help others that suffer with vision impairment.

Today Mason and his wife Mindy are the proud owners of Edge Optics and love providing eyewear for the Colorado lifestyle. Edge Optics boasts a generous selection of active eyewear, safety frames, fashion eyewear, and everyday Colorado eyewear.

Whatever your budget, Edge Optics has an eyewear solution for you. Adult frames start as low as $55 and top quality high fashion frames are also available under $400.

We can’t talk about Edge Optics eyewear without mentioning some of the local, sustainable, and philanthropic brands they offer. Most people know about TOMS shoes, but fewer people know that TOMS one-for-one model is also used with glasses and is one of the many brands Edge Optics represents. Stop in and check out MODO eco-friendly eyewear, and local eyewear from Native brand from Denver and Zeal brand from Boulder.

Fort Collins would not be what it is without companies like Edge Optics and people like Mindy and Mason.

Edge Optics is continuously involved in local community events. Some recent events Edge Optics has hosted or been a major contributing partner with are Yoga After Hours that supports Sproutin’ Up, an organization focussed on helping low-income families in Larimer County have better access to healthy food, and an Alzheimers 5K walk to raise some serious money for the Alzheimers Association. Edge Optics also helps with Lion’s Club and donates used eyewear to those in need in our community.

I know these are only a few examples, but Mason and Mindy always have their hands in something! Keep an eye out for upcoming service opportunities with Edge Optics. A couple events in store for the future include a clothing drive for the homeless and potentially a pay-it-forward day and a free vision day.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to help these wonderful people and business owners continue to transform our community through their service and generosity.

Join us #livinglifewithedge.

—-
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am thrilled to share the stories of great brands. If you or your company have a story worth sharing with the public, please get in touch. I would love an opportunity to talk with you about it. Contact me day or night at ryan@storyon.co and @RyanTCheck on Twitter.

Continue Reading
Stories:

They Closed Their Orphanage and We Love Them for it

The average American will see an average of 19,000,000 advertisements by their 18th birthday. Every single one of these ads represents a company asking you to your give hard-earned money to support and buy into what they are doing. It would be an understatement to say our culture is crowded with financial requests.

Most requests are not even relevant to us, but random. Most of these are interruptions, and the companies are hoping that their advertisement can simply be the least rude interruption of the day.

We hate this. Story On exists because we want to see people connect with brands they love because of the stories they tell.

Particularly in the charity space, this is more feasible. It is difficult for a business to find a compelling story, but charities, not as much. A charity exists because they see something that needs to be fixed and they are trying to tell that story in order to engage people with their work (or at least they should be).

I started working actively and professionally in the charity space at 16 and I had the privilege to work with several amazing organizations of different shapes and sizes. Over time, I saw many organizations who truly were working towards the best means to meet the needs they were passionate about. I also saw many organizations who were doing the same thing as other organizations, just marketing to a different market. Often there was little effort made to determine if their approach was the best way or if was just the common or easy way to do things.

We want to see organizations passionate about doing the uncommon things; passionate about doing things the best way. This is why one of our favorite organizations at Story On is Asian Hope. Their story is marked by change and transformation which was initiated by the  stories of those they served.

Cambodia has a broken, tragic, yet hopeful story.

Although Asian Hope is 16 years old, their story started in the late 1970’s. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, there was a genocide in the nation of Cambodia where the leader Pol Pot desired to eliminate the family structure, education professionals, and religious establishments from the Cambodian culture.

After several years and approximately 1.4 million deaths, the nation of Cambodia was broken. Over the next few decades, the Vietnamese ran the country, as did the United Nations, and in the early 1990’s there was a renewed authority in the hands of the Cambodian people.

Between the mid 90’s and 2005, thousands of orphanages were established in Cambodia to take care of the millions of orphaned children in the country. One of these orphanages was built by Asian Hope.

At the time, this seemed like the best way to help. But since then, UNICEF has performed in-depth research and realized that upwards of 77% of children in Cambodian orphanages are not actually orphans; most have surviving family members they could be living with.

In 2005, after going through a leadership transition, Asian Hope began to analyze their programs carefully, asking questions to see if the work they were doing was the work that was needed. After three years of research, prayer, and analyzing how other organizations were doing things, they realized they needed to make some changes.

Asian Hope closed the doors of their orphanage. No more new children and no more new orphanages. The students in the current orphanage were taken care of through high school and many of them graduated from College, a rare feat for a Cambodian student. But beyond that, Asian Hope made a commitment to no longer run any orphanages but rather to invest their efforts in education.

Asian Hope has realized over the last decade that education is prevention. They have come to the compelling conclusion that the best way to fight poverty in Cambodia is to take their programs to the families rather than pulling children from the families. They are now supporting and educating families in a way that empowers them to break free from poverty.

The current focus of Asian Hope programs are their private schools reaching the middle class of Cambodia and their Village Development Program. The VDP is giving children in extreme poverty the resources they need to advance in life and in school, along with providing training and education for parents on how to raise healthy families.

We love charities who are committed to doing more than running programs that may be easy to market, but rather those who are committed to truly helping people in the way they need help the most. Asian Hope is committed to this work, even when it is messy.

As we have had the privilege to get to know Asian Hope better, we have grown to trust them because we know they are moved by a conviction to do what is best, no matter what.

The nation of Cambodia will never be the same because of the work of Asian Hope. What if your child could not pass 5th grade because you didn’t have money to pay for bribes? What if you could not provide for your family but a pimp would pay you lots of (food) money if your daughter came to work for him? Asian Hope’s work is putting and end to these problems. For just $1.38 a day you can bring hope to 1 Child for 1 Year. To get involved, go here.

——-
We are passionate about telling stories of businesses and charities doing things right. We love Asian Hope’s commitment to integrity. What are other organizations unapologetically committed to doing things right?

Continue Reading