Bringing Sight to Senegal
Published: August 15, 2013
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For Brianna Eagen of Waverly, life is about serving others.
"I have a performing arts scholarship for my school, so I feel that I have been given the opportunity to go to this school and do a lot in my life," she said. "Since I have been given so much, I should give back to those who are less fortunate."
Eagen, who will begin her senior year at the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va. this fall, is one of ten students who will participate on a service trip to the village of Koussanar, located in central Senegal, in February of 2014. Eagen is the head not just of the school's Senegal Club but also of the school's community service programs.
Foxcroft's service trip to Senegal will have participants aid in the construction of a school, create an emergency medicine fund for townspeople and, most importantly, provide eye exams and eye glasses for those who need them. This is the first year that the school will offer this trip and, upon hearing what it entailed, Eagen jumped at the opportunity to go.
"I hear about people going to Africa all the time but I have never heard someone say that they are going to bring glasses," she said. "I feel like, in America, that's something we take for granted. You don't have to go get a $100 prescription or you can get $20 readers in the store. You can always, somehow, get your sight. These people don't have eye doctors around; this isn't something that is given to them. This is like Christmas for them and people come from all over to come and get these glasses."
Eagen explained that she is attempting to raise all of the necessary funds for the trip on her own; including the $3,300 trip fee, among other fees. Eagen also has a personal goal of collecting 100 pair of glasses along with an additional $100 to provide a correlating eye exam. Eye exams in Koussanar cost $1 per person, whether adult or child.
"Glasses aren't something very big there," Eagen said. "We were told that we will get, for example, an elderly lady who hasn't been able to see since she was a young child. All of us will learn how to work the machines while we are there. Some people from the community will be educated on the machines so that they can become eye doctors in that town."
Eagen has already received support from Northeast Eye Institute, the Abington Lions Club, the Abington Heights Civic League and Girl Scout Troop no. 559 of Clarks Summit. She hopes to have completed fundraising by the end of 2013.
To donate glasses or to assist Eagen's efforts, call her at 877-5325 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.