Magazine article The New American

Teen Offers Gift of Sight

Magazine article The New American

Teen Offers Gift of Sight

Article excerpt

A California teen has made it his life's work to see to it that others may see clearly.

When Yash Gupta broke his glasses in tae kwon do practice, he was forced to function without them for seven days. In that time, he realized that he had been taking them for granted. "I just couldn't see anything," said Gupta, now 17. "I couldn't see in the classroom; I would get easily distracted. ... Just basic stuff I used to do every day, I couldn't do."

It was then that he began to think about other children who have to cope without glasses because they do not have access to proper medical care or because they do not have the financial means to afford them. In his research, Gupta learned that more than 12 million children around the world do not have the corrective eyewear that they need.

"It's just a total disadvantage for them, because [ill you can't see anything ... you definitely can't make the most of the education you're being given," he said. "It would be impossible for them to fully achieve their potential. ... I had this problem for one week, but these kids have these problems for their whole lives."

So at the age of 14, Gupta started Sight Learning, an organization that gathers used eyeglasses from optometrists and donates them to organizations that can deliver them to children in need.

Nearly three years later, his organization has been a great success. CNN reports, "Since 2011, Gupta has donated 9,500 pairs of glasses, worth nearly $500,000, to young people in Haiti, Honduras, India, and Mexico."

Gupta helps fund his work by tutoring younger students after School, and he spends approximately 20 hours a week collecting and shipping the eyeglasses, CNN reported. He knew it would not be difficult to collect the glasses, as his own experience told him that old eyewear often gets discarded.

Gupta sought the aid of his father to set up his organization, and began to present his idea to local optometrists, who agreed to place donation boxes in their offices for patients to donate their used glasses. …

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