HARRISON, N.Y. -- Emma Smolev of Harrison spent most of her summer volunteering in Costa Rica, where she donated 240 sets of eyeglasses.
The Harrison High School senior collected the glasses for Project 20/20 and Teen Works.
Smolev came up with the idea during her junior year when she visited the eye doctor. She had been unable to see the blackboard and that simple improvement for her was dramatic.
Smolev said she became inspired to help others less fortunate see clearly for the first time and began collecting eyeglasses from friends and neighbors. She also called localoptical stores for donations.
Project 20/20 is a human service program that works to prevent blindness and improve vision among the indigent and working poor in underdeveloped areas of the world. The organization collects unused sunglasses, reading glasses and eyeglasses.
Smolev made her donation with help from a Lion's Club in Costa Rica.
“The experience was amazing both to see how easy and rewarding it was to participate in something that would be useful for so many others and how grateful the Lion’s Club was for my donation,” Smolev said
While abroad, the Harrison senior also spent about a month volunteering at La Fortuna orphanage in Costa Rica as part of a Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) project.
"Much of the facility at La Fortuna was dilapidated and unsafe. I loved working and fixing up the facilities to make it a brighter, safer and more useful place for the kids of the La Fortuna orphanage,'' Smolev said.
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