Yasmin Assar launched a very special program as a result of a family tragedy. Yasmin’s grandfather went to the doctor’s to receive surgery; however, due to the physician’s error surgery was performed on the wrong eye. Because of this, Yasmin’s grandfather lost all sight in one of his eyes. Yasmin created her “Gift of Sight” project when she found out what had happened to her grandfather. After her family helped her grandfather heal, Yasmin became more thoughtful about eyesight. She wears glasses and wanted to find a way to help others in the area of vision.
Yasmin began her quest with research. This led her to the Georgia Lions Lighthouse for the Blind. She wanted to make a difference in the community and found the mission of the Lighthouse is to foster sight conservation and restoration and hearing conservation, with a particular emphasis on youth. Yasmin felt like this would be a perfect place to start, so she contacted The North Decatur Lions Club. After various phone calls and discussions regarding her project, she was introduced to Ms. Goldenburg, past President of North Decatur Lions Club. Yasmin was soon provided with a letter introducing as well as authorizing her to collect used eyeglasses for the Georgia Lions Lighthouse for the Blind. In collaboration with them she launched Gift of Sight Project in July of 2004, where she acts as a Project Manager. Yasmin designed flyers and collection boxes to be distributed to the neighborhood and also contacted numerous banks, law firms, Lasik Surgeons, and eye doctors for their support.
Gifts of Sight collects old, used, discarded, broken eyeglasses and frames. Once collected, they are sorted, logged and donated to the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation for further distribution worldwide by their members. Badly scratched glasses or broken frames are recycled for their metal content and the money is used for sight services. Of course, eyes are checked and proper prescription written by their staff before donating.
Yasmin is thinking of long-term goals for Gifts of Sight. Her vision is to collect 5,000 pairs of eyeglasses before her high school years are over, and because this project can make a change in so many lives; she may never stop her collection efforts. To date, Yasmin she has collected in excess of 2,000 pairs of glasses. While she may never meet all the donors or recipients, simply knowing that this project is changing peoples’ lives gives her a sense of immense joy.
Yasmin has also approached her church Youth Council for the youth to join hands and be active participants in Gifts of Sight. If this is approved, it is then possible that the project become either a Southeast Regional or a National Project within the Church Youth Council. In addition, Yasmin made a presentation to her school Volunteer Officers to garner more support for Gifts of Sight. As a result of her efforts the school published her story in their Pantera – November 2005 issue.