As World War II raged, leaders of the Allied nations looked beyond the end of the conflict and held talks on a world body for preserving peace–an entity that would be stronger than the toothless League of Nations. Lions rallied behind the idea. In 1943 in Cleveland at their international convention, Lions endorsed a U.S. House of Representatives resolution calling for an international peacekeeping mechanism once the fighting ended.
In February 1945, Lions’ founder Melvin Jones gathered with leaders of other national groups to meet with Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Archibald MacLeish to discuss forming a United Nations. In April Lions headquarters asked clubs to hold a United Nations week to show support for the initiative.
Lion Clubs International was one of the first nongovernmental organizations invited to assist in drafting the U.N. Charter. Jones, International President D.A. Skeen of Salt Lake City, Utah, and future International President Fred W. Smith of Ventura, California, helped to formulate the NGO section of the charter and participated in developing the U.N.’s humanitarian mission. On June 26, 1945, the U.N. charter was signed by the representatives of 50 countries.
Two years later in 1947, in recognition of the importance of Lions Clubs to its mission, the United Nations gave Lions consultative status with the U.N. Economic and Social Council, committed to the welfare of people worldwide. For generations, Lions and the U. N. have shared many common goals and worked together to further peace and prosperity.
Each year Lions and the U.N. celebrate their relationship. Begun in 1978, Lions Day with the U.N. calls together leaders from government, business and the nonprofit sector to explore solutions to pressing global needs. The annual event features a keynote address by a recognized world leader, expert panel discussions and, since 1989, the awards ceremony for the winners of the Lions International Peace Poster Contest encouraging young people to express their perspectives on peace. Lions Day is punctuated with a reception for U.N. diplomats, Lions, speakers and guests to celebrate this special and enduring relationship.
As a part of the August Engaging Our Youth Centennial Service Challenge, we’re featuring spotlights on Lions Youth Camp and Exchange chairpersons and participants. Today’s spotlight is on Chelsee Augusta Moe, a 2015 YCE participant who is now a news anchor in Minnesota. Learn how you can get involved with Lions Youth Camps and Exchange!
The Lions Club has changed my life and it is something that I am forever thankful for. After I graduated college from the University of Arizona, I decided that before I started applying for “real” jobs I wanted to travel. This dream of mine was quickly knocked down when I didn’t have the funds or organization to do so.
Some very close family friends told me about the Lions Youth Camp and Exchange program. I couldn’t believe that a group such as this really existed; I was in awe. I applied to go to Italy and was able to go last summer. The people that I met while I was there and the experiences that I had forever changed my life and shaped me into the person that I am.
I was able to stay with a host family that I fell in love with, eat new foods and travel a new country. But the best part of it all was the people that I met along the way.
I met people from far and wide… Japan, Canada, Denmark, Hungary and many more. These people taught me how to love and how to be accepting. They taught me to get out of my comfort zone and to never let anything stop me. These people are now friends that I will have for the rest of my life.
Even though I am back in the states now working as a News Anchor in Minnesota, I remember things that I learned in Italy in my day to day life. In fact, the Lions here have already asked me to join their club. It is a group I will always be a part of and one that anyone can find all over the world. I am forever thankful for the Lions club and my experiences in Italy.
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is a leader in providing support for preventing avoidable blindness and restoring sight for people around the world. Our sight programs include developing and improving eye care systems, providing sight-restoring surgeries and treatments, and distributing medications to those most at-risk for eye diseases.
Since 1990, LCIF’s SightFirst program has played a key role in reducing global blindness. With a focus on building comprehensive and sustainable eye care systems, SightFirst provides funding for projects that deliver eye care services, build or strengthen eye care facilities, train professionals and build awareness about eye health in underserved communities.
In January 2000, the Belize City Lions Club received a US$260,000 SightFirst grant to eliminate the cataract backlog in Belize within five years and establish the country’s first specialized public eye care center. This was a collaborative effort with the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI), the Ministry of Health, PAHO, CBM, and Sight Savers International. The grant funded the completion and furnishing of the eye clinic’s hostel, purchased ophthalmic equipment and provided training for eye care professionals. Ultimately, the successful project more than doubled the number of cataract surgeries performed each year, provided specialized diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma treatment, and offered patients and families an affordable place to stay while receiving care away from home.
In August 2013, the Lions of Belize received a US$192,326 SightFirst grant for the detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy throughout Belize. The funds equipped the National Eye Clinic and five satellite clinics, in partnership with BCVI. Five optometrists, two nurses, and four assistants were trained on equipment use, identification, and referral of patients with diabetic retinopathy. One ophthalmologist was trained on laser surgery, enabling the provision of diabetic retinopathy laser treatment year round. The funds also allowed for the development of a diabetic retinopathy public awareness campaign, in partnership with the Ministry of Health’s Community Health Workers. Since 2013, 1,551 patients have been screened and 362 have received laser treatment.
Congratulations, BCVI, on 35 years of fulfilling your mission to prevent and cure blindness, restore sight, and to rehabilitate and educate people who are blind to enable them to use their talents and abilities to live independent lives. Here’s to 35 more!
I am honored to serve as Chairperson of your Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). I believe strongly in our Foundation, which is a vital part of Lions’ international service efforts. One of the most touching moments of my life was seeing how Lions joined together with LCIF to provide food, supplies, and opportunities to the refugees struggling in Europe. I am so proud to be a part of this foundation.
LCIF helps Lions improve peoples’ lives around the world, combating vision problems, responding to major catastrophes, providing valuable life skills to youth, and so much more. LCIF helps all Lions serve by providing grant funding for your local and global humanitarian efforts, and Lions help to support LCIF’s mission.
LCIF sets a fundraising goal every year to meet Lions’ humanitarian needs worldwide. While we do not have the final numbers yet for 2015-16, we expect that you Lions donated over US$39 million. What an incredible feat! With your help, we hope to raise just over US$45 million this year so that we may continue serving the world and promoting harmony.
I like to think of the beginning of a new year the start of something great, and I am excited to embark on this journey alongside you Lions, some of the most dedicated and selfless people the world has ever seen. I know that together we will achieve many great accomplishments this year. Thank you for your dedication to our Foundation!
Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada
Chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation
Today’s post is by Dianne Corlew, Lion and wife of International President Chancellor Bob Corlew. Be sure to follow Dianne’s Lions Partners in Education Facebook page!
At the District Governors Elect Partners in Service Seminar, I talked about membership and the impact we can make as members. I also expressed that the best way to support our DG partners is to become a Lion! I then offered the opportunity to become members at the DGE Celebration Banquet. Six people responded that they wanted to become members. We had an overwhelming response at the banquet! But I wanted to share with you the stories of the six who contacted me.
Carol’s husband, DG Guy, has been a Lion for 21 years. They have been married for 31 years. Carol has helped with projects and attended various meetings and events. Carol surprised Guy! DG Guy was amazed and pleased to have his wife and number one supporter as his first new member of his DG year.
When DG Guy and Lion Carol returned from the International Convention and told their daughter, Alyssa (22 years old), that Carol has become a Lion, the first thing out of her mouth was “And when do I get to become a Lion?” Alyssa is now a Lion as well as their 25 year old son, Kyle.
I first meet Carlota and her husband, Richardo, two years ago when we visited Panama. We immediately formed a friendship. She has a family strongly involved in Lions. Their daughter is a Lion. Their grandson is also involved. When we talked to their grandson he told us he wants to be a Lions Clubs International District Governor someday. What a great aspiration for a young man! Carlota was like so many others I have met. She has a heart of a Lion, works harder than a lot of Lions members, but is not a member. I encouraged her then and again on a later visit to become a Lion. I was so excited and happy when she and Richardo came to get their DGE photos and she told me she was going to join!
Joe Prochaska, Partner in Service of DG Lisa Prochaska, decided to join. They are from Iowa Falls Lions Club. Lisa joined in 2010 and quickly held club offices. Lisa’s club met at noon and Joe could not get away from his job for the meeting. He works 30 minutes away. Bob and I were like that as well, and I shared this at the Partners in Service Seminar. That is why Bob and I belong to different clubs. Just recently Lisa’s club decided to change their meeting times to one at noon and one in the evening. That way they could offer times to accommodate more members. Joe decided now was the time for him to join. What a great way to support a woman in a leadership position! And we are so glad to have Joe as a member of Lions Clubs International!
Debbie McKnight, a Lioness, decided to join and support her husband, DG Kerry McKnight. Debbie has been a member of the New Freedom Lioness Club for 16 years. As a Lioness she has been involved in service for years. I absolutely love to see what I call “Lioness Lions”! She is now a member of both clubs. DG Kerry had encouraged Debbie to join as an example for other spouses. Now DG Kerry and Debbie plan to work together with a goal to increase women membership in the district. I am sure they will accomplish this goal!
Rosemarie Maythem, spouse of DG Lance Maytham, decided to join also. They are from the Bredasdorp Lions Club, the southernmost club in Africa! Bredasorp is a grain and sheep farming community. Lance is an accountant. Rosemarie is retired from a dried flower export company.
Lance became a Lion in 1980. Ladies were not permitted to join then. When Lions clubs opened up to women, Lance’s club did not immediately accept ladies as members. Rosemarie has worked side by side with Lance for years. Rosemarie will continue to work side by side with Lance but she is now his first new member of his District Governor year! Rosemarie, we are so glad to have you as a member!
We met DGE Andy Port last year in Massachusetts. He has the kindest, gentlest and most caring spirit. His wife, Amy, is a volunteer in her church and her community. She was president of the town’s food pantry, a deacon in their church, and served the community of Holliston for 21 years in various service roles. She is the sweetest lady. I was surprised to find out she was not a Lion. Well, she is now! DG Andy said his year is off to a great start. I saw DG Andy later at the convention and he said his District Governor year was off to a great start because he had as his first new member – the most giving, caring person in the world.
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