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Eighth Grader’s Organization Helps the Visually Impaired

Sophia+Liporace+holds+a+fundraiser+for+her+Eye+Ride+Foundation+on+February+24%2C+2018+at+Rocco%27s+Tacos+in+West+Palm+Beach.
Sophia Liporace holds a fundraiser for her Eye Ride Foundation on February 24, 2018 at Rocco's Tacos in West Palm Beach.

Sophia Liporace holds a fundraiser for her Eye Ride Foundation on February 24, 2018 at Rocco's Tacos in West Palm Beach.

Mrs. Liporace

Mrs. Liporace

Sophia Liporace holds a fundraiser for her Eye Ride Foundation on February 24, 2018 at Rocco's Tacos in West Palm Beach.

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Taking initiative is a huge part of the Benjamin School culture, and one eighth grader has done just that. Eighth grader Sophia Liporace began her own foundation in January 2018 to help people with debilitating eye conditions such as congenital periodic alternating lateral nystagmus –  basically, rapid involuntary eye movement – the same eye-condition Liporace has. The condition makes her eyesight much worse than the average person, but even though she is only 13-years-old, Liporace is already helping other people in a big way. The organization, Eye Ride Foundation, is just beginning, but hopefully it will continue to grow and prosper.

“Eye Ride Foundation, Inc. provides financial assistance to the visually impaired,” said Liporace. “We do this by distributing funds when someone applies for assistance. For example, let’s say that someone with macular degeneration needs money for a bus pass. We will require a note from his or her doctor showing that he or she has an eye condition, and then we will pay for a certain percentage of the bus pass,” Liporace explained.

Mrs. Liporace
Liporace’s friends, eighth graders Madi McVey (left) and Danielle Lancaster, join her at the fundraiser on February 24.

In just one fundraiser, Liporace helped raise over $1,700. This may not seem like it impacts the world in a huge way, but to the people with these eye conditions, she knows it means the world.

I started this foundation to help those less fortunate than I am,” said Liporace. “I am very fortunate in that I will be able to drive. Most people with my eye condition can’t drive because their vision is not good enough, and it would be dangerous to other drivers and themselves.”

Liporace may be fortunate herself, but she knows  many people with eye impairments are not. That’s why she decided to do something about this overlooked problem, demonstrating her kindness and compassion for others.

“I think it’s great that Sophia is turning her obstacle into an opportunity to help so many others,” explained Liporace’s mother, Mrs. Lisa Liporace.

Liporace has support from her friends, family, and even her advisor, middle school Spanish teacher Mr. Charles Maddox.“I think it’s great how she’s taking initiative at her age,” he said.

Although Eye Ride Foundation may be a non-profit organization, Liporace has definitely felt rewarded since starting this initiative.

It is really an amazing feeling to help people,” she said. “I just want to help people out, and if I can help just one person, that makes me happy,” she said. “My overall goal is to help as many people as possible, and promote independence for the visually impaired.”

Such a vision is as good as any.

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Eighth Grader’s Organization Helps the Visually Impaired