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Elle Rhee

Northview sophomore Elle Rhee knows how important eyeglasses can be for those with vision problems. She’s been dealing with being nearsighted since she was in the third grade and is functionally blind. But thanks to glasses, her vision has been corrected and she is able to function without issues.

She was made aware of the fact that many other children with vision problems are not as fortunate as she. Her dad, an ophthalmologist, pointed out that there are many children whose parents or guardians cannot afford to pay for glasses.

Rather than shaking her head and voicing platitudes, she decided that she could do something to make a difference. She came up with a plan to raise money to help buy glasses for those children.

With help from her family and her dad’s staff, particularly his office manager, the young woman formed the aptly named, “Spectacles for Students,” an organization that was recently granted 501 c3, nonprofit status. She also worked with a local attorney through the process making sure that all documentation was completed correctly. “This has been quite a learning experience,” she related.

Moving forward, she and her team are planning a variety of fund-raising activities including developing a web page that encourages direct donations to supplement the solicitation letters she has sent to interested supporters.

Elle plans to make contact with schools to develop lists of qualified students who need glasses. She also plans to distribute flyers outlining the program to raise awareness and to help find students who are in need of help in purchasing glasses.

In addition, she is telling her story to other teens who may have the desire to do something to make a difference but don’t think they can. “I want to inspire others that they can make a difference regardless of how young they might be,” she said. She made a presentation to a group at the Sylvania Branch Library on Oct. 9.