In the summer of 2021, Toronto-based brothers Ethan and Cooper Waisberg started their own non-profit corporation, Balls 4 Eyeballs.
Balls 4 Eyeballs is a youth-led movement with the goal of protecting the environment while also generating funding for eye research. The Waisberg brothers are both life-long tennis players that are helping spread awareness about eye care, a pursuit that was inspired by a close family member.
Ethan Waisberg is involved in eye research in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. and is a student at the University College Dublin School of Medicine. Cooper Waisberg is in his second year at York University working towards becoming a lawyer who advocates for environmental issues. Both the brothers put their passions together to create Balls 4 Eyeballs.
They have also been involved in previous volunteer positions, such as Cooper Waisberg’s collection and donation of hundreds of pairs of eyeglasses for the Medical Ministry International organization. The other brother has been involved in global eye health missions with Medical Ministry International, going to Colombia and Mexico.
Every year in the U.S. alone, 125 million tennis balls are thrown away. With no recycling program in place, the tennis balls then end up in landfills and contribute to growing climate change concerns.
“We have collected over 50,000 tennis balls and that translates into over 6000 pounds of non-decomposable waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.” Cooper Waisberg says.
The balls collected by Balls 4 Eyeballs are able to be repurposed and resold, with the proceeds going to charities such as Fighting Blindness Canada, Orbis Canada and Medical Ministry International to help support eye research being done through these charities.
“We feel compared to other countries, eye research in Canada is underfunded,” says Cooper Waisberg. “That’s the main reason we started this organization.”
The Waisberg brothers are hoping to gain more exposure to the Balls 4 Eyeballs organization by hosting a charity tennis match that will likely take place in the summer of 2022.
“Being across Ontario has its own challenges. For example, we’re in clubs in London, Ontario so even just dropping off a bin there is a two hour drive which is quite difficult,” Ethan Waisberg says. “We’re expanding and hopefully we’ll get more youth involved.”
The organization has recently announced a donation bin has been added to the sports store, Decathlon, located at 3300 Rutherford Rd. in Vaughan.
Balls 4 Eyeballs is seeking representatives from universities or any young person in Ontario interested in getting involved to help collect tennis balls from local tennis clubs.
Check out Balls 4 Eyeballs for more information: https://balls4eyeballs.org/
About the author
Youth Mind’s Contributing Editor turned Managing Editor, Haeley DiRisio, aspires to one day become a published author, preferably writing from the comfort of a cottage in the English countryside.