by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Soul of Photography


16-year-old Amy Yan is a remarkable young lady. Last year, she founded a charity called Glasses for All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that collects donated eyeglasses and then distributes those glasses to people in need. “Our project has involved reaching out to the local community and churches to collect donations of used eyeglasses,” explained Amy. “We have held some donation drives at the Neil Good Day Center in Downtown San Diego, as well as at the La Roca homeless shelter in Tijuana.”
Since she started Glasses for All, Amy has found it to be especially rewarding to help people. “Vision is such a crucial aspect of our lives,” said Amy, “and it can sometimes be taken for granted, so when someone is able to find a fitting pair of glasses, their smiles are priceless.”

student_yan2Amy – who is in the 11th grade at Canyon Crest Academy – has a strong interest in health and well-being. “I really enjoy biology and psychology, since they provide insight on what we are and who we are as humans,” shared Amy. “I feel like those two classes can also really shape your view of the surrounding world by helping you better understand it.”

Aside from her studies, Amy enjoys listening to and playing music. “I’ve been playing piano since I was eight and I have been playing flute since I was 11,” stated Amy. “With piano, it was something that my parents signed me up for, but I eventually learned to love it. I decided to start learning flute because I was interested in playing in a band environment.”

After high school graduation Amy plans to attend college, where she hopes to combine her interest in the medical field with her passion for giving back. “I’d like to continue helping others in the future, which led me to think about some career pathways in the medical field, such as pursuing being an MD physician,” explained Amy. “I’ve been looking into some colleges with a strong pre-med program and I would like to major in maybe biochemistry or cellular biology.”

As for her source of inspiration, Amy recalls being recently moved by the author Paul Kalanithi and his book, When Breath Becomes Air. “Kalanithi inspires me with his passion about healing and medicine, as well as his continued perseverance and vitality throughout his battle with cancer,” shared Amy, who has also been greatly inspired by Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female rights and education and the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. “Her powerful message about female education really shows that anyone can make a difference in the world, no matter their age, ethnicity, gender, or any other social boundaries.”

Name: Amy Yan (16)
School: Canyon Crest Academy
Grade: 11
Sibling: One younger sister, Dana
Favorite Spots in 92130: Del Mar Highlands, Carmel Valley Library, Ocean Air Park