It started with a 5th grade class project.
“We had a "million dollars" to spend helping a village called Sauri, Kenya lift itself out of poverty.”
So Grace O’Halloran decided to use her hypothetical money on something she’s needed since she was three years old; eyeglasses.
“I though about it, kind of first, that if I didn’t have glasses for all these years, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to do all the things that I have done,” says Grace. “And it turned out that there definitely was a need for them, for the children and the adults.”
Then, Grace later decided to take it one step further, by actually putting her idea into action. At just 12-years-old, the young entrepreneur founded Gracie’s Glasses in 2010 and began collecting eyeglasses to send to countries in need.
“I’ve been able to send them to Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, India, and Nepal.”
Four years later and Grace has managed to send 600 pairs of glasses around the world. And now, with the help of organizations like the Stamford Lions Club, Gracie’s project is growing quickly. The club, which has been collecting glasses for nearly 50 years, recently donated 3,000 pairs to Grace’s cause.
“Usually we send them out to get either recycled or melted down, and we take the money and use the money for charitable donations, but once we got connected with Gracie, we just try to turn them over to Gracie,” says Harold Topper, President of the Stamford Lions Club. “We’re just amazed at how much she believes in it and carries through on it, it’s a great thing.”
And Grace says her passion for the cause is fueled by the people she helps.
“I love making the connections with people from all different cultures and walks of life,” she says.
Grace says she plans to continue with the project, making it even bigger and better a long the way.
“I think the hardest part is matching the person to the glasses with their prescriptions, so I’d like to work on making that easier on the other end of it once the glasses get there,” says Grace.
To find out more about Grace’s cause, visit graciesglasses.org
To find out more about the Stamford Lions Club, visit the website shown here.