ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ — Leading contact lens manufacturer CooperVision announced the first round of recipients of $25,000 in Gear Up Grant funding. The prizes were awarded as part of the company’s Contact Sports initiative designed to help young athletes and teams from across the country get the athletic equipment they need to succeed while promoting the importance of eye health.

CooperVision is excited to announce that the winners of the first Gear Up Grants are:

  • Lake High School Volleyball Team, Toledo, Ohio
  • Dryden High School Varsity Girls Swim Team, Dryden, N.Y.
  • Illinois Valley High School Soccer Team, Selma, Ore.
  • Woodstream Christian Academy Varsity Basketball Teams, Bowie, Md.
  • Victor Senior High School Blue Devils Marching Band, Victor, N.Y.
  • Manvel High School Girls Soccer Team, Manvel, Texas
  • Orlando Thunder Water Polo Club, Orlando, Fla.
  • Grover Cleveland High School Boys Soccer Team, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Blue Wave Aquatics Swim Club, Elkhart, Ind.
  • Kahuku High School Girls Volleyball Team, Kahuku, Hawaii

The ten winning teams will each receive $2,500 in grant funds and each athlete on the team who needs corrective lenses will receive a year supply of CooperVision contact lenses.

Sports offer more than just physical activity — they are a source of confidence and personal strength. With teen participation in sports increasing each year, CooperVision is proud to continue its work to support teens in their athletic ambition while raising awareness of the importance of vision health.

“We were overwhelmed by the number of compelling submissions and are thrilled to announce our first Gear Up Grant winners,” said Dennis Murphy, president, the Americas. “We wish all of our entrants the best of luck in their upcoming seasons and are excited to see how the grant money and contact lenses help the winners improve their performance.”

CooperVision launched its Gear Up Grants program this past May as part of the Contact Sports initiative to help teens gear up for sports and teach them about the relationship between healthy vision and sports performance. From May 3 through July 12, sports teams and individual athletes between the ages of 13 and 19 submitted their stories at www.mycontactsports.com. A total of 30 finalists were selected by CooperVision with the help of WePlay, the largest online youth sports community, and campaign spokespeople Heather O’Reilly, two-time U.S. women’s soccer gold medalist and BMX phenom Daniel Dhers. Judging criteria was based on the creativity and originality of the submission, the potential impact of the grant, needs of the team or athlete and how well the entries fit the contest theme. Following an 8-week public voting period, the ten winners were selected by their peers.

Another chance to win!

CooperVision recently launched a new round of the program to award an additional $25,000 in Gear Up Grants. New submissions are being accepted for a chance to win through September 30 at www.mycontactsports.com. Voting will begin on October 18, and all who vote are automatically entered to win a year supply of CooperVision contact lenses.

The next ten winners will be announced in early December, 2010.

About CooperVision

CooperVision, a unit of The Cooper Companies, Inc. (NYSE: COO), is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of soft contact lenses. Dedicated to enhancing the contact lens experience for practitioners and patients, CooperVision specializes in lenses for astigmatism, presbyopia, and ocular dryness. CooperVision manufactures a full array of monthly, two-week, and daily disposable contact lenses featuring advanced materials and optics. For more information, visit www.coopervision.com.

Contact lenses are medical devices and can only be prescribed and dispensed by a licensed eye care professional.