Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), your global foundation, officially launched Campaign 100, LCIF: Empowering Service at Lions Clubs International Convention July 3. The significance behind the campaign name…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Naresh Aggarwal
Chairman, Lions Clubs International Foundation
International President, Lions Clubs International
Serving youth is one of the causes Campaign 100: LCIF Empowering Service will support. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) wants to serve 200+ million people each year while increasing service impact, fighting diabetes, and expanding our global causes. This story is one example of how Lions can positively change the lives of children through the assistance of an LCIF grant.
A student’s eagerness to learn can quickly diminish when their school environment is distracting, unclean, and unsafe. After Typhoon Haiyan (known in the Philippines as Super Typhoon Yolanda), Tagdon Elementary School was destroyed. Lions in Germany wanted to help. They raised funds and secured a grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) to renovate and expand the school. In the Philippines, Bulan Lions Club, a nearby club that regularly visits the school, was also able to contribute to the school’s exciting new beginning.
Located in the city of Barcelona within the Sorsogon Province of the Philippines, the school was originally constructed more than 30 years ago. Once bustling with students excited about their education, the school was left ravaged in the wake of the typhoon. In addition to roof and structural damage, the area flooded, leaving debris littering the ground inside and out.
With the money from the German Lions, LCIF, and Bulan Lions Club, three classroom buildings and nine classrooms were renovated. Repairs were made to the framing, roofing, ceilings, windows, doors, masonry, and electrical components.
Interior and exterior painting brightened up the school to a welcoming yellow with attractive blue accents. In addition to the renovations to existing buildings, the project also funded the construction of a new building that houses a library, computer room, health clinic, and bathrooms. The school health clinic will also be available to the general public, a much-needed service in the community of Barcelona.
Tagdon Elementary School has an annual enrollment of 250
students, all of whom now have a safe school environment that is conducive to learning. In addition to these students, more than 1,000 students from five surrounding elementary schools will use the library, computer room, and health clinic, and more than 4,750 additional community members will benefit from the health clinic each year. Further proof that kindness matters, this project has helped cultivate a happy and healthy community.
“This has been our hope [and] our help for the Filipinos because we know that by helping them [to have] a good education, we are helping them and their families. And, of course, the whole country, actually,” says Dr. Marlene Ruth Hermo-Koslowsky, friend of Lions and former Tagdon Elementary School student.
This story was originally published in the July/August 2018 issue of LION Magazine.
Visit LCIF.org/BE100 to learn how Campaign 100 will serve youth through improved access to quality education, vital health services, inclusive social and recreational opportunities, and positive development programs.
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