Atlanta, GA,
15:55 PM

Recycling Sight

A community comes together to help children who need glasses

The land of misplaced, forgotten things…the junk drawer. Is this where your old glasses go? There’s a better home for them.

More than one billion people worldwide are unnecessarily blind or vision impaired. Most just need a pair of glasses. Thousands of American children are among them. Children who should be busy learning, are instead struggling to see.

Kovan Reynolds was one of those kids. The 13-year-old from Atlanta had to stand up at the front of the classroom to read the white board. He would squint and get headaches playing his favorite video game. He wanted more confidence on the soccer field. He wanted a new pair of glasses.

Kovan’s mom, Rene Elmore, knew he needed a new pair after losing a few frames. His eyesight had gotten worse and he needed an exam. But life kept getting in the way.

The single mom had just put herself through college and landed a new job. With everything on their plates, getting to the eye doctor ended up on the backburner. Then a State Farm employee decided to celebrate her 30th work anniversary by giving back.

A happy hour or food day wasn’t really Michele Means’ style, but community service was. She also wanted to engage her work colleagues in the act of good, and help youth.

State Farm employee Michelle Means with some of the eyeglass frames collected as part of her anniversary project to give back. The frames were donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta to help meet the vision needs of the Club's members.“I was looking for an idea that would be impactful and different,” Michele said. “I reached out to the local Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta because of the amazing work they do.”

Sophie Felix, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta Director of Teen Services, suggested an eyeglass collection campaign paired with free exams and fittings; Project Vision.

“I have two adopted brothers whose birth mother was blind…my mom initially struggled to get them the eyecare and glasses they needed,” Sophie said. “I know what a difference having proper glasses makes.”

“I thought, it must be so difficult to learn and succeed if you can’t see properly. Good vision should never be taken for granted,” Michele shared. “Sophie thought 30 frames would be a good goal. But I knew my State Farm community could pull off more.”

She was right.

  • 145 frames were collected from Michele’s State Farm network, more than 200 total.
    • 11 State Farm employees also donated their time at the event.
  • 113 Boys and Girls Club members attended the mid-October Project Vision event.
    • The extra glasses will be used at future BGCMA events.
  • 31 members had free eye screenings and received free exam vouchers, including Kovan.
  • 34 members with prescriptions received free glasses.

It was a pretty impactful way to celebrate a work anniversary. 

And, a huge weight was lifted off Rene’s shoulders; Kovan is getting his glasses!

Have old frames? Skip the junk drawer and instead help people all over the world. Across the US, the Lions Club has drop-off locations.