Homes in Japan are under water after massive flooding in summer 2018.
Sep
13

Lions of Japan are Hard at Work After Multiple Disasters Pummel the Nation

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Over the past two months, Japan has an unprecedented amount of natural disasters. Earthquakes, torrential downpours, flooding, heatwaves and landslides have all left their mark on the Pacific island nation this summer. Then, only days after a record-setting typhoon, another earthquake shook Japan.

Residents of Hokkaido woke in the early morning to the 6.7 magnitude quake on September 5, 2018. The island was left without electricity as massive landslides buried homes and destroyed infrastructure. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has provided a total of US$410,000 to assist with the relief efforts in the wake of these disasters.

Local Lions understand that the government and Japan’s Self Defense Force will provide immediate emergency support more efficiently, so they will focus instead on long-term community rebuilding and recovery. Planning is already underway for how Lions will assist their neighborhoods and their country in the coming weeks, months and years.

Did you know that a US$100 donation can provide essentials such as food, water, and shelter to four people in the wake of a natural disaster?

Lions in a pickup truck Japan deliver critical supplies after a disaster, summer 2018.

Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster relief fund today so that important work, like that taking place in Japan, can continue.

Visit LCIF.org/BE100 to learn how Campaign 100 will deeply engage in disaster relief efforts and in preparing for, and responding to, natural disasters whenever and wherever they strike.

Sep
12

LCIF Supports Lions Program to Prevent Diabetes

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When District 1 J was considering new ways to give back to their suburban Chicago community, Lion Jeri DiPasquale had an idea. At age 13, her son had been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, so her family knew all too well the needs of the diabetic community.

“As a parent, you always try to keep your child safe,” says DiPasquale. “You tell him not to run into the street and not to touch the hot stove. But a diagnosis of diabetes changes everything. You suddenly hold your child’s life in your hands. If you don’t give him his shot, he’s going to die.”

DiPasquale suggested to her club that they support diabetes prevention. The Lions of District 1 J teamed up with Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare (EMH) to develop a diabetes prevention and lifestyle intervention program by securing a $95,275 Core 4 Diabetes grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). The project prevents diabetes by providing education and resources to low-income adults at risk of developing the disease.

We never would have gotten through this without the education and support we got from Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare,” says DiPasquale. “Thank you, LCIF, for making sure other families have access to this vital resource.”

Diabetes is a growing epidemic in both the United States and worldwide. Some 29 million American adults have diabetes. That includes an estimated 7 million who do not know that they have the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 86 million Americans (more than 33 percent of adults) have prediabetes, which puts them at the highest risk of developing diabetes within the next five years. It is predicted that one in three Americans will have the disease by 2050 if current trends continue.

Now, with the help of local Lions, the new Diabetes Prevention and Lifestyle Intervention Program at EMH identifies underserved, financially strained and high-risk individuals who may have prediabetes. Those who screen positive for prediabetes are offered a free consultation with a diabetes educator at the hospital-based Learning Center. They can choose to enroll in a lifestyle-change program, based on the CDC curriculum designed to prevent or delay progression of Type 2 diabetes.

The program aims to educate participants with the ultimate goal of reducing the prevalence of diabetes. This is an expansive community outreach program that helps individuals identify their risks and develop a plan to minimize them.

Local Lions are integral to the success of the program. There are 64 Lions clubs in District 1 J and more than 2,300 members. The Lions function as community ambassadors by advocating for diabetes prevention. They facilitate informational meetings, help collect health data such as weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) measurements from participants, and host fundraising events.

With the help of Lions and LCIF, the target is for at least 65 percent of participants to lose weight, maintain that weight loss and experience a stabilization of the blood glucose level after completing the program. The Lions of District 1 J are working diligently to improve the health of their community and prove that an ounce of prevention is, indeed, worth a pound of cure.

Visit LCIF.org/BE100 to learn how Campaign 100 will play a major role in responding to the diabetes global epidemic, through multi-faceted, comprehensive health initiatives targeted at the communities in which we live and serve.

Above: Lion Jim Worden (left) discusses patient education with Julie Sanfilippo (center), a health coach with the Diabetes Prevention Program, and nurse Linda Voght (right), a certified diabetes educator at Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare in Illinois.

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of “LION Magazine.”

Aug
17

#LionsYouthExchange: Leo Madi’s Story

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In the summer of 2017, I had the honor of participating in the Lions Youth Camp and Exchange Program in Austria. Prior to this trip, I had never been outside the United States, so I didn’t know what to expect. Now, I realize how valuable traveling is and how much it can impact someone’s life. We are naturally drawn to stereotypes and assumptions, but being able to meet so many incredible people from all around the world taught me that people are people, no matter where they come from. We’re all crazy, silly, talented, and although we speak different languages, have different backgrounds, and are used to different traditions, everyone can get along.

We are naturally drawn to stereotypes and assumptions, but being able to meet so many incredible people from all around the world taught me that people are people, no matter where they come from.

There are many benefits of the Lions youth exchange program, including learning about a different culture through wonderful host families, gaining a better understanding of international peace and cultures, and making lasting friendships from around the world.

My Lions Youth Exchange Host Family

I spent two weeks with a host family before heading off to Lions Camp.  They took me everywhere. We went to their Lions club’s presidential installation, since my host father just finished his term as president. We went out for ice cream almost every day. And we went hiking. Lots and lots of hiking. My host family stay helped to show me Austria’s culture, a bit of standard traditions, and the many differences and similarities.

Austria and California have plenty of basic similarities, but they also have many differences. The first day I arrived in Austria, my host family let me settle into my new room. After a few minutes, I headed over to the large window next to my bed and noticed it was tilted towards me at the top. I panicked, thinking it was broken, and carefully tilted it back to the correct position. The next day as my family took me around their town, I noticed that all the windows were broken! So, as it turns out, windows in Austria, and lots of Europe, are slightly different than California windows.

Throughout the next two weeks, my host parents also took me to the Dachstein, a glacier with an ice castle,  and they helped me get to know some of the other students before camp.

Become a youth exchange host family.

Lions Camp Sound of Music

Before I knew it, the first two weeks were over and it was time for the Lions Camp Sound of Music, which brought together 31 students from 21 different countries to focus on music. Throughout our two weeks, we had two performances. The first was the “Nations Eve,” where each of the 21 countries performed a song from their home. The following week we had our final performance featuring all our choir and solo songs. Normal camp days included choir practice, solo rehearsals, meals and excursions.

The camp directors did an amazing job of showing us many different aspects of Austria. They brought us to major cities, salt mines, interactive museums, waterskiing, hiking – something new every day. It was truly incredible how much they did to make our stay memorable and to show us different parts of their country.

Peace and International Understanding

During the Lions youth camp, we shared stories of what we expected our fellow campers’ countries to be like, the differences between our home country, and some of what we’ve learned so far.

For example, one of my best friends from camp is Uriel, from Mexico. A lot of the other campers and most of the staff members were amazed that we got along so well. Based off the media from their home countries, many people couldn’t believe that someone from the U.S. and someone from Mexico could be friends, so it was interesting to break that stereotype.

We expressed how nice it was to be at a camp where everyone could be treated equally. One girl shared that before the camp, she was terrified that she wasn’t going to be good enough. In her home country, she couldn’t afford music lessons, so it was nerve-wrecking to come to a camp all about music. Then she revealed that everyone was so kind, encouraging, and welcoming that she felt like she was worth something. Her story hit everyone the hardest.

In her home country, she couldn’t afford music lessons, so it was nerve-wrecking to come to a camp all about music. Then she revealed that everyone was so kind, encouraging, and welcoming that she felt like she was worth something. Her story hit everyone the hardest.

I’m so used to the customs and cultures of the U.S. that I don’t realize people in other countries must fight and work for some things that are simply given to me. I also learned that there are some things that I love about my country, and some things I wish we could take from other cultures.

Sent Home with Love

It was truly amazing to be surrounded by 30 other students from all around the world and to still get along so well. At the end of our camp, Sara-Estelle, a camper from Germany, asked the staff if we could have 31 envelopes with the name of a different camper on each one. We laid them on the floor of the choir room so anyone that wanted to write a note to that camper could. On the last day as we stepped onto the bus to go to the airport, the envelopes were handed out. Not a single person was left without a note and each envelope was bursting with positive words and love from the other campers.

Thank you, Lions

Now, over a year later, I’m still in contact with many people from camp. We text, call and I’ve FaceTimed with some so they could walk around their home town and show me their favorite spots. I am now a member of my local Leo club, committed to the Lions’ mission – We Serve. Thank you, Lions, for giving me and young people around the world the opportunity to learn, grow and become ambassadors for peace.

Get involved! Start a local youth camp and exchange program.

 

Aug
16

LCIF Offers Hope in Kerala

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Kerala, in southwestern India, is known for palm-lined beaches and lush tea and spice plantations. Every year, monsoon season leaves Kerala bright and verdant. But this year is different. This year, Kerala’s annual monsoon is one of the worst since 1924. The last six days have seen more than 200 landslides and dozens of deaths.

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has responded with a US$50,000 Major Catastrophe grant, which will allow local Lions to provide food, water, and other immediate needs to the more than 60,000 people displaced by the flooding and landslides. 

Please consider supporting LCIF by making a donation to Campaign 100: LCIF Empowering Service. This is LCIF’s most ambitious fundraising campaign and donating to it will allow Lions to prepare for and respond to natural disasters in communities around the world for years to come.

 

UPDATE, 08/23/2018
More than 1,000,000 people are now displaced and more than 400 have perished. LCIF has awarded a second Major Catastrophe grant, bringing the total to US$100,000 for relief in the wake this historic calamity, the worst Kerala has seen in a century.

Aug
7

Major Earthquake Rattles Indonesia

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Dear Lions,

On August 5, 2018, the relative calm and tranquility of the resort island of Lombok, Indonesia, gave way to panic and fear when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck. Early reports indicate more than 100 lives have been lost and thousands of people have been left homeless. Rescue efforts are currently underway for people trapped in the rubble of hundreds of buildings.

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has approved US$50,000 in designated disaster funding to assist local Lions in providing much needed early response relief.

We know Lions everywhere join us in sending their thoughts and prayers to the people affected by this recent disaster as they mourn the loss of loved ones and struggle to find adequate housing, fresh water and food. As aftershocks continue, Lions in Indonesia are already providing relief with much-needed supplies.

The generous support of Lions allows LCIF to provide disaster relief funding at a moment’s notice. This is why your donation to our Disaster Relief Fund is more important now than ever before!Donate to LCIF

We wish healing and recovery to all who are impacted by this devastation. To our fellow Lions, we thank you for your dedication to LCIF. Our entire community of Lions benefits from your generosity of spirit, service, and giving.

Sincerely,

Dr. Naresh Aggarwal
Chairman, Lions Clubs International Foundation

Gudrun Yngvadottir
International President, Lions Clubs International

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