Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 20, 2000
Teen brings sight to visually impaired
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
There is a little miracle at Holy Family Church and her name is Meagan Hazlewood.
The Grade 9 student from Richard S. Fowler Junior High School was recognized for her efforts in collecting more than 1,000 pairs of eyeglasses for Operation Eyesight Universal.
"There are always miracles around us," said Andy Michaelson representing Operation Eyesight. "Seeing them is what's difficult. So often they are small and personal.
"So it is at Holy Family Parish, we are part of a continuing miracle that you might not have noticed."
Hazlewood was surprised when she was presented with a certificate of appreciation from Operation Eyesight March 10 after the youth-led Way of the Cross at her parish.
"I can't believe they did this and nobody knew about it," she said.
Even her parents, who were present that evening, were unaware she would receive the award.
"We didn't think we would ever see so many glasses in our basement," said Stephanie Hazlewood, Meagan's mother.
Meagan started collecting old eyeglasses in Grade 6 for her Confirmation project. Almost three years and a thousand glasses later, she still comes to Holy Family every couple of weeks and picks up a bag or two of donated eyeglasses.
She asked parishioners to contribute to her efforts. She even got teachers and students at school to rummage through their drawers for old long-lost glasses.
"I know so many people who have glasses that sit in drawers. So many people out there could use them."
Operation Eyesight Universal was established in 1963 by a group of Calgary businessmen, whose mission was to fund blindness prevention and sight restoration programs in developing countries. One of its most popular programs is the eyeglass recycling program.
An honours student and track and field star, Meagan started her project shortly before she herself began wearing glasses. She has since thrown her glasses into the donated pile and opted for contact lenses.
"My idea was to collect them for a couple of months," she said. "It was a project I had to do."
But it was the project that never seemed to die. Once parishioners and friends found out what she was doing, people kept bringing them.
"I thought she would collect a few hundred, but it just kept going," said Roger Hazlewood, Meagan's father. "When she started collecting the glasses, people would say 'These glasses belong to my father or my grandfather.' It was as if they were entrusting her with them."
When she started the project, Meagan simply wanted her community to get past its stereotypes about teens.
"I just want people to see that we can do good things too."