Touchstone Story #97–All-State Bands

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Some things can’t easily be put into words. But the swelling call of a bugle, the pattering of a snare drum, the trill of a line of marching flute players—music can awaken a feeling of joy and purpose that words cannot match.

Lions Clubs International founder Melvin Jones, from Fort Thomas, Arizona, wrote in 1927 that “music, both vocal and instrumental, have a wonderful effect for good. In it there is harmony; and whether or not we realize it, harmony winds itself into our very souls; and you cannot have discord in souls filled with harmony.”

The earliest All-State Bands were made up of Lions who were eager to make music together, but today they are made up of the best of the best from local schools’ marching bands. When marching musicians are needed for Lions conventions, local parades and even international events, All-State Bands from around the country rise to the occasion. Local clubs support their bands and fund travel for the musicians to attend competitions and conventions around the world.

Young musicians must prove themselves in auditions every year. Success brings the opportunity to travel and make music with the best of the best and to play alongside young musicians they might not otherwise meet. In 2015, the Mississippi Lions All-State Band attended the International Lions Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, and won the 31st Annual International Lions Parade Championships. The 145 high school musicians in the band survived a tryout with 852 participants.

“It feels amazing to make the Lions Band,” said trombonist and high school senior Trevor Shoup. “I never thought I would make it this far.” He practiced 15 hours a week in advance of the All-State Band auditions, which included two performances in front of a five-judge panel.

Once a musician is chosen, the real work begins: a full week of band camp, with practices and drills running from dawn till long past dusk.

“The practices were very intense,” said trumpeter Jesse Gibens, also a senior. “We got 30-minute breaks every now and then, but we were constantly playing every minute.”

Three students from Mississippi’s Warren Central High School attended the 2015 convention, with financial assistance from the Vicksburg Lions Club of Mississippi. They were given $300 each for travel and food during their weeklong stay in Hawaii.

“Someone has said that music is a means of expressing man’s feeling without words,” said Melvin Jones. “Had there never been human affection, there never would have been uttered a strain of music. Language is not subtle enough, tender enough, to express all that we feel, and when language fails, our highest and noblest longings are translated into music—the sunshine and climate of the soul.”

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings!


LCIF Awards Major Catastrophe Grant to Lions in Puerto Rico

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Dear Lions,

It is hard to recall a time recently when so many major natural disasters occurred in such a short period of time. Over the past several weeks, natural disasters have struck in several places, with particularly devastating results – flooding in India and Japan, hurricanes in the United States and Caribbean islands, and not one but two earthquakes in Mexico. Most recently, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) awarded a US$100,000 grant to support relief and reconstruction in Puerto Rico in the wake of another destructive hurricane. Your Foundation has responded with emergency and major catastrophe grants to allow Lions on scene to provide much-needed supplies.

In all cases, LCIF coordinates funding for emergency and major catastrophe grants with local Lions. Lions in the disaster area then work with local government officials and other agencies to ensure the right supplies are getting to areas most in need, without duplication of effort.

Since its founding in 1968, LCIF has awarded more than 13,000 grants totaling over US$1 billion. LCIF will continue to work every day to support humanitarian service projects all over the world and give hope to those who need it. In 2015-2016, LCIF awarded over US$9 million in disaster grants, which helped more than 500,000 people around the world.

LCIF relies on donations from compassionate Lions. These donations provide the vast majority of the revenue received by LCIF, making the Foundation a leading humanitarian organization. Lions know their donations matter and that funds entrusted to LCIF will support initiatives that impact communities and change lives.

Your donation – whatever the amount – allows the Foundation to respond when called upon, and has a direct impact on the lives of millions of people.
Donate to LCIF
Along with your donation, I know you join me in keeping the victims of these most recent natural disasters in your thoughts and prayers.

Together we are making a difference.


Chancellor Bob Corlew
Chairman, Lions Clubs International Foundation


Famine Relief Efforts Continue in East Africa

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It’s hard for many of us to relate to the fragile situation of famine victims in East Africa. Millions of people in Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and other countries live with drastic food shortages despite the efforts of Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and local Lions who continue to provide aid.

Last month, Lions used disaster relief funds from LCIF to provide food to villages in and around Aweil, South Sudan. Many of the families helped are disabled, female or elderly-headed households and people with disabilities.

This famine began six years ago and the number of vulnerable people keeps increasing, so the work of Lions and LCIF continues. Please consider supporting relief efforts in by making a donation LCIF’s disaster fund. Be sure to note “East Africa Famine” to designate your donations for this disaster.

Donate to LCIF

In the words of Liberian peace activist Leyman Gbowee, “I am what I am, because of who we all are.”


Touchstone Story #82–Piles of Paperwork

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Compiling and accessing vital statistics about Lions wasn’t always as easy as a click of a few buttons. Paper documents by the millions—letters, telegrams, cablegrams, new member applications, officer election results, club supply orders and countless other forms—were the dominant medium for exchanging information for most of Lions’ history.

In the 1920s, reports from clubs circulated among the departments at Lions headquarters in Chicago before being filed away, but that was when clubs numbered in the hundreds. By 1967, there were more than 20,000 clubs spread across the globe. In a special 50th anniversary edition, the LION Magazine reported that incoming mail to International Headquarters in Chicago totaled more than 3.5 million pieces annually, including 240,000 club attendance and activities reports.

The anniversary issue also featured photographs of a recently installed Honeywell mainframe computer whirring away in an air-conditioned room at headquarters. The cabinet-size machine was a big step forward, of course. But it did not stem the avalanche of paper. Dozens of data entry clerks were required to transfer information from club and district reports on paper to punched cards and paper tape. The incoming reports, and copies of any relevant outgoing correspondence, were then filed away in separate folders for each club and district.

As more clubs were founded, more folders were opened. And each folder would gradually swell to capacity. When a club purchased a Lions road sign, for example, three new documents went into the club file: the order form, the shipping record and a copy of the invoice.

The whole system survived into the early 1980s. And somehow it worked. Members got the LION Magazine every month without fail, or perhaps only a month or two later when they moved to a new address. District and club officers received timely bulletins and announcements. International Headquarters produced reliable statistics.

Why go to all that trouble? The numbers demonstrated the scope and impact of Lions’ service mission around the world. They provided vital demographic information for planning Lions’ future, and the records allowed Lions to share the what, who, when, how and why of any service project with other clubs considering similar activities.

As technology improved, Lions around the world and the supporting staff at headquarters would soon get a much needed break from the burdens of paperwork and more time to do what they do best: Serve others.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!





Lions providing relief to Nepal flood victims

LCIF Awards Disaster Grants, August 2017

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) offers a variety of funding options to support various stages for disaster relief operations, including Disaster Preparedness, Emergency, Community Recovery and Major Catastrophe Grants.

For districts impacted by a natural disaster including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis, Emergency Grants provide up to US$10,000. Lions district governors may apply for disaster relief funds to help meet immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies. LCIF typically awards more than US$2 million in Emergency Grant funding each year. Community Recovery Grants aid districts interested in supporting short-term cleanup and repair efforts in situations where other organizations have already addressed immediate needs. Lions district governors may submit proposals for community recovery grants.

In August 2017, LCIF awarded 18 Emergency Grants totaling US$145,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

Thailand, District 310-E
US$10,000 for flood relief

The Republic of Korea, District 354-F
US$10,000 for flood relief

The Republic of Bangladesh, District 315-B3
US$5,000 for flood relief

MD300 Taiwan, District 300-D2
US$10,000 for typhoon relief

China, District 390
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

MD300 Taiwan, District 300-F
US$10,000 for typhoon relief

India, District 321-B1
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 321-C1
US$5,000 for flood relief

China, District 394
US$10,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-E
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-F
US$5,000 for flood relief

Nepal, District 325-A1
US$10,000 for flood relief

Nepal, District 325-A2
US$10,000 for flood relief

Nepal, District 325-B1
US$10,000 for flood relief

China, District 388
US$10,000 for flood relief

India, District 321-E
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-E
US$5,000 for flood relief

Sierra Leone, District 403-A2
US$10,000 for mudslide relief

Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund today.

Donate to LCIF


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