Carlos was born blind in both eyes from cataracts. For the first three years of his life, he and his parents were shuffled from one clinic to the next, spending all their savings on eye exams. Out of desperation, they even sold their car. His father recalls, “We kept getting sent to different doctors, who took our money but did nothing. Here in Ecuador, there is no health system for the poor. People are left to die on the streets.”
Carlos was one of the estimated 1.4 million children around the world are blind, yet the vision of 75 percent of these children could have been saved if they only had access to effective eye care. Accounting for 21 percent of total cases of blindness in Latin America, childhood blindness is especially prevalent in countries like Ecuador.
But darkness was not in five-year-old Carlos’ future. Through a regular screening offered by Lions, his family heard about the Metrofraternidad Foundation (FMF). At the LCIF-funded childhood blindness center in Ecuador, Carlos received surgery that restored his vision. Part of a SightFirst and World Health Organization joint initiative, FMF is one of 34 needs-based pediatric Lions eye care centers around the world committed to eliminating avoidable blindness in children. Since the Lions started supporting FMF in 2003, the number of children treated each year has risen steadily from 500 to more than 1,500 annually.
Today, young Carlos enjoys going to school and playing with his friends. He still receives treatment for strabismus, which developed after the cataract surgeries, but his vision continues to improve. “If it weren’t for the FMF, my son would still be blind,” said his father, grateful for the intervention of the Lions.
Read more about how Lions are fighting avoidable childhood blindness.
From LCIF: Our Impact Story Archives
On November 2, 2014, the Izmir Mersinli Leo Club of Turkey and the Lefkosa Lider Leo Club of Cyprus arranged a twinning ceremony. Together, the twin clubs organized an event at a foster home for children where they participated in coloring activities and snacks with the kids. Visit their Facebook pages for more pictures and recent events.
The International Club Twinning Program allows Lions and Leos to learn about another club and its culture. This is a voluntary, mutual agreement that takes place between two like clubs in different countries.
How to Select a Club Twin
Twinnings vary from club-to-club and can occur as a result of:
Awards and Recognition
After developing a twinning relationship, the clubs can apply for an International Club Twinning Banner Patch Award.
Visit our Club Twinning Guidelines page on our website for more information.
What is your favorite part about Twinning?
Sixteen years ago, Eldon Weber had a desire to teach children the importance of the agricultural industry, including how we get our food and the impact agriculture has on our economy. While employed at Iowa State University, he developed the Pizz-A-Thon experience. Over the sixteen year period his program continued to grow. By working closely with teachers and their students in Iowa and the Quad Cities, he was able to adapt his objectives and goals to follow the Core Learning Standards required by the State Departments of Education. Eldon was able to expand the program in 2000 to middle schools in North Carolina.
What is the Pizz-A-Thon?
Students work in teams to create a pizza by determining the ingredients they will use and identifying the food stages by way of tracing the ingredients back to the soil. They are also required to come up with a marketing campaign and must “sell” their pizza through a presentation to the judges. At the time Eldon was on faculty at Iowa State University, the winning team represented its school at a state competition which was held in May at the University. Students were given a tour of the ISU grounds –visiting the greenhouse, dairy and more. Although they do not have a state competition currently, he hopes to develop one in the future with after school clubs.
Enter the Lions
In 2013, Eldon invited the Ames Breakfast Lions Clubof Iowa to host the program. Prior to their hosting, while Eldon was president of the Ames Breakfast Lions, the club assisted in testing the program with the Boys & Girls Club of Story County –a success that gave them confidence that it would be a good program to use in connecting with youth and families. As Past President of the Ames Breakfast Lions Club and active member, Eldon tweaked the program to fit Lions Clubs goals of benefitting our youth.
Making an Impact
Together as a Lions Club, they reached 150 youth in Ames, Iowa this year. Between 1998 and now, over 5,000 children have participated in the Pizz-A-Thon program. More than halfway to their goal, Eldon and the Ames Breakfast Lions are striving to reach 10,000 children by 2016.
Interested in learning more about the Pizz-A-Thon program or how to start a branch in your community? Visit their website for more information.
The Baggao Lions Club in the Philippines organized a coastal clean-up activity. This “Protecting Our Environment” project not only helped clean up the beach, but also raised awareness for the importance of having clean coastal areas.
Lions all around the world are working towards a common goal of serving 100 million people by 2017 through youth, vision, health and environmental projects as part of the Centennial Service Challenge. In order to keep track of how many people we are serving, we ask that Lions record their activities on MyLCI. Don’t forget to upload pictures from you project on social media and use the hashtag #LIONS100 so that other clubs can see the impact you are making in your community.
How is your club Protecting Our Environment?
Do you want to help empower and build an accepting community for people with intellectual disabilities? Get involved by chartering a “Champions” Lions Club! “Champions” Lions Clubs focus on projects that serve Special Olympics athletes. Many Lions clubs are involved in this initiative to support these athletes.
Take for example the Whittier Special Olympics SOLA Lions Club. Over 50 members of the Club have had the opportunity to empower persons with intellectual disabilities, show the world the skills and talents of a group often overlooked in today’s society and work with a great organization. The club’s activities include providing sporting events, equipment and uniforms to athletes along with providing volunteers and hearing tests at the fall and summer games each year. The SOLA Lions Club continues to make a positive impact on the Special Olympics movement in Southern California.
Also, congratulations to the Nairobi Fosok Champions Lions Club who recently chartered in support of Special Olympics. This is the first “Champions” Lions Club in Africa and is dedicated to working with persons with intellectual disabilities.
Invite a Special Olympics Athlete
If you are already a Lion, consider inviting a Special Olympics athlete to become a member of your Lions club. Provide them with the opportunity to give back and help others in the community.
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