Fourth-grader Hunter Odom donates 88 pairs of eyeglasses as part of service project

  • Hunter Odom was pretty sure he could collect 50 pairs of eyeglasses. He had a plan and his mom, Angela Odom, was helping him with his year-long service project for WINGS, a gifted program at SPS. But he wasn’t quite sure.

    “I thought I would get like 50, and at first I thought I might not be able to, but when I reached 40, oh I knew I could reach that goal,” said Hunter. “But I didn’t think I would get over 50. Then I thought I would maybe get a couple over, like three or four. Never would I think to get 88.”

    Hunter Odom, a fourth-grader at Hickory Hills K-8 School, donated 81 pairs of eyeglasses to the Springfield Host Lions Club on March 1. Since then, he’s donated an additional seven pairs as part of his year-long service project, a requirement for every fourth-grader at Phelps Center for Gifted Education.


    “We first tell students about the service learning project in the fall semester,” said Erica McConnaughey, gifted resource teacher at Phelps. “We introduce them to the ideas of philanthropy, volunteering, and how we can use our time, talent and treasure to help others in our community. They develop a plan, set goals and they do the project on their own time ”

    At his home school, Hunter knew about helping others in his community as a member of Hickory Hills’ 4th Grade + Lions = Teamwork program. Founded in 2003, every fourth-grader at the school is visited by Lions Club members once a month to involve students with community service, a knowledge of people with blindness and information about caring for their own eyes, said Lion Jerry Young.

    “We introduce the students to a number of blind persons during the year to help them understand how the blind learn to cope with their disability, including those with leader dogs for the blind, those using white canes,” he said. “...Hunter’s project shows that he has understood and accepted our challenge to become involved with community service.”

    For Hunter, providing glasses to those in need is important, especially to those who may not be able to afford them. But helping people also just makes him happy.

    “It’s important to help people,” he says. “Because if we help more people, then more people can be happy. And it would also make you happy for helping people, because in one of the books I read, I forgot the title, it talked about how you have an invisible bucket, and that any time you make someone happy, you get an invisible drop in your bucket. And that person does, too.”