CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- All it took for students at Belle Elementary to want to "make a difference" was the story of a local woman in need.
After hearing about the grandma of two of their fellow students who was in need of corrective eye surgery, the students made the decision to make eye care for senior citizens the focus of their goal for Make A Difference Day, according to Belle Elementary counselor Chelena McCoy.
Make A Difference Day is a national event held Oct. 26 every year. The event urges people everywhere to dedicate one day to community service.
McCoy instituted a Make A Difference Club at her school after a student suggested the idea as a way to expand the volunteer efforts to more than just one day a year.
"Ever since we started the club, that's been their [the students'] thing - they want to help people who are sick," she said. "Because we had a situation with a family at our school, we became more aware of how important vision is and how expensive care can be. So that became our focus."
The students hosted a hotdog sale at their school last weekend, raising about $450 for the local Lions Club.
The Lions Club of Charleston is a nonprofit organization focused on sight preservation and restoration, and works to distribute free eyeglasses to children in West Virginia, and all families in need.
The Lions Club recently launched a new international "Follow Your Dream" campaign that focuses on the importance of child literacy around the globe.
About 61-million primary school age children around the world are unable to obtain an education, according to the Lions Club official website.
McCoy said as soon as the children at Belle Elementary awarded the money they had raised for the Lions Club, they asked, "What's next?"
The Make A Difference Club has designed anti-bullying posters, instituted a recycling program and now has a new Adopt-An-Area project in the works.
"The kids want to be out there, trying to make a difference in their communities," she said. "I'm really proud of these students. I'm proud of their hearts."Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.