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State Honoree

Sarra Cherry

New Mexico

Sarra Cherry, 13, of The Menaul School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, transformed a science project about eyesight into an in-depth service activity involving the collection of unused eyeglasses and donated books to benefit those who cannot afford either. Sarra's program, If I Can See, I Can Read, was created when she learned about a literate tribe in Indonesia that did not have access to eyeglasses for the tribe's elderly members. "I was excited to take my science project out of the lab and into the community," said Sarra, who wrote letters to groups and businesses asking for donations of unused eyeglasses. While doing so, she realized there was a similar need right in her own community. Through her campaign, Sarra has been able to send hundreds of eyeglasses and books to the needy elderly in Indonesia and in her Albuquerque. She has also begun to collect and distribute children's books to a low-income day care center intown.
Sarra plans to expand her project by collecting donations of cassette players and books on tape for those who suffer from cataracts and cannot read even with the assistance of eyeglasses.