published on March 15, 2012 - 7:27 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Charlotte Cooper


Eyes for the World

What you do: Eyes for the World collects eyeglasses for children in third-world areas who do not have them. The Lions Club distributes the eyeglasses.

Your education: Current senior at Bullard High School. I have a walk-on opportunity at Cal Berkeley for soccer, but I’m undecided at the moment waiting to hear from other schools. I’ve applied at Harvard, Yale, Brown, University of Virginia, Princeton, Stanford and Duke. Decisions for these schools are at the end of March and early April.

Age: 18

Family: My brother Jack, father Joe, mother Lisa and Yorkshire terrier Brownie.

How did you come up with the idea for Eyes for the World, Charlotte?
In the summer of 2008 I saw a commercial about children in third-world areas that didn’t have eyeglasses to see, read or culturally connect socially. I immediately felt connected with these people in those areas because I have dyslexia. They can’t read because they don’t have glasses and I have trouble reading because I scramble the words up on the page. Inspired by the commercial, I founded my non-profit Eyes for the World my freshman year in high school. I partnered with The Lions Club, which distributes the eyeglasses. Being partnered with The Lions Club gives me a sense of the corporate business world.

What are your primary responsibilities as president, Charlotte?
My responsibilities as the president are to organize a yearly drive at my high school, promote my nonprofit at my high school and surrounding businesses and check on donation boxes at local businesses to see if they need to be emptied of donated eyeglasses.  

Where do you get the eyeglasses that you donate, Charlotte?
I get the eyeglasses from businesses in and around Fresno, from my high school where I have placed boxes in the main office and library, and I have a yearly drive/contest at my high school (the class that donates the most eyeglasses gets a pizza party).

How is your organization doing at the present time? How many people are involved, Charlotte?
My nonprofit is doing well. I’ve just delivered a total of about 300-plus pairs of eyeglasses in the past four months to The Lions Club. I give those eyeglasses directly to Maryland Watts, the vice president of the Lions Club. The people involved in my nonprofit are my father, mother, brother, my campus activities director/leadership teacher Ms. Laurette Momjian, President of The Lions Club Richard Bloom, Ms. Maryland Watts V.P., my aunt Amanda and uncle Robert, the Bullard Pharmacy employees and owners, and a lot of the student body at my high school. 

What has the community response been, Charlotte?
The community response has been fabulous. I get the majority of my donated glasses from them and I thank them for their support to the cause. They don’t know what impact they’re making. 

What is the biggest challenge you face at this job, Charlotte?
The biggest challenge for me is to make sure I balance my time between this yearly project and my studies and extracurricular activities. 

What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with Eyes for the World, Charlotte?
I ultimately hope to encourage and inspire others to volunteer in worthy causes for the betterment of humanity and to let people who don’t have the opportunities and resources we do that someone cares about their well-being and volunteers their time to give them a life-changing gift. 

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it, Charlotte?
My first job was babysitting four children for X numbers of hours. What I learned from that job was to be patient, take charge and care for others and learn the importance of following through with your duties. And of course, establish a reasonable amount of an hourly wage. 

What do you like to do in your spare time, Charlotte?
I like to read of all things, considering I have dyslexia. I conduct a lot of school activities, co-chair events at school and I’ve played on the varsity soccer team for four years, which takes up most of my time. I also do Zumba on the Wii for a steady, off-season workout.

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