International Literacy Day Recap
Today’s post is written by Lion Linda Madden, wife of Immediate Past International President and LCIF Chairperson Wayne Madden. Mrs. Madden just spent the past three days celebrating International Literacy Day with Christie Vilsack from USAID, a Lions Reading Action Program partner, Andreja Stojkovski from Lions of Macedonia, and other Lions and partners. Read on for Mrs. Madden’s recap of the events.
What an exciting week it has been! September 8 marked International Literacy Day, and I was honored to participate in various events, discussions and tours that focus on the importance of literacy and its connection with vision — especially for children.
As a former schoolteacher, I know how critical it is for children to develop early-grade reading skills in order to build a foundation for a strong education. And as a Lion, I understand the importance of vision screenings and its relation to education. With initiatives such as the Reading Action Program and vision screenings for children, Lions across the globe are helping children learn and read better every day.
Our first stop was to a library in Washington, D.C., where Christie, Andreja and I participated in a program discussing our shared goals of literacy for all. By working together with partners and stakeholders, including teachers, parents and disabled persons, we can advance our collective literacy and inclusive education goals. We also visited the Special Olympics Headquarters to discuss how we can work together to ensure social inclusion for children with disabilities.
Our next stop was Camden, New Jersey, to visit the South Jersey Eye Center. We began with a vision screening and reading activity at a nearby HeadStart program that the South Jersey Eye Center serves through its partnership with the Center for Family Services. One of my favorite parts of the day was reading to the young children! We also toured the South Jersey Eye Center Mobile Vision Clinic.
In Atlanta, Georgia, we visited the Georgia Lions Lighthouse for the Blind. What an incredible facility! The Georgia Lions Lighthouse focuses on providing a variety of eye health services, from full eye exams to eye surgeries and vision screenings, to uninsured and low-income residents of Georgia. It is also one of the sites for the pilot testing of the Lions lens through our partnership with Essilor. During the tour, we got to see beautiful dresses made from recycled eyeglasses, and learned how Lions clean and sort eyeglasses for distribution.
Thank you, USAID and Lions, for such a wonderful few days of events and for your tireless commitment to literacy and community service worldwide! How did your Lions club celebrate International Literacy Day?
Lion Linda Madden
To see more photos of the Lions and USAID International Literacy Day events, visit the Lions Facebook page.