Over the weekend, I visited Lions in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where 1,500 Lions from six districts participated in a Mega Multi-Service Project. What a wonderful event! I got a chance to see all of the service projects in which Sri Lanka Lions are involved, and Anne and I had the honor of distributing many goods to local residents.
We gave out microfinance checks for local women to start their own businesses, distributed dried food supplies to people who have had cataract surgeries, and handed out seedlings for locals to plant trees in their communities. There were also books and school supplies for students, free eyeglasses, diabetic testing units and even new homes for families in need.
All in all, a successful afternoon of service and giving!
It was a grand sendoff in Concord, Calif. on Saturday for Lions René Henderson and Liz Lamach.
The couple will travel to Pasadena for the 125th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade, where they will ride on the Lions Clubs International float. The float design was inspired by a playground built for their son- Matteo’s Dream, a park for children of all abilities. You can read more about it here.
Henderson and Lamach, who thought they were just gathering for a maintenance and cleaning day, worked for six hours alongside fellow Lions from across the region, including District Governor Dennis J. Grotrian.
“We had a great work party at Matteo’s Dream today and I was amazed at the turnout, the work completed and the Lion spirit that prevailed,” said Grotrian.
When it was over, everyone gathered for the surprise celebration and sendoff. Lions hosted a special ceremony to present Henderson and Lamach with jackets signed by the community, which they will wear while riding the float on Jan. 1, along with 30 long stem roses donated by Darling Flowers.
Also in attendance was Christian Campbell, a 17-year-old who uses the park and will be riding the float alongside Henderson and Lamach. California State Assembly Member Susan A. Bonilla is sponsoring his trip to Pasadena in celebration of Matteo’s Dream’s impact on the community.
“It was so powerful,” said Lamach of Saturday’s event where 18 different clubs in the region attended to show their support. “It was an incredible afternoon.”
Henderson and Lamach will join Lions International President Barry J. Palmer in Los Angeles on December 30, when they will join the Lions members in decorating the float.
Lions Clubs International is showing support by hosting our first-ever social media contest on Facebook and Instagram. We’re giving several chances to win an official Matteo’s Dream Rose Parade commemorative pin. You can read more details about the contest and the official rules here.
Additionally, we are asking Lions everywhere to continue sharing the YouTube video in an effort to spread the word about the unique story behind the float design.
The “water towers” of Kenya refer to the mountains and forests that capture rain water and snow, which help provide water to local communities during dry months. However, deforestation in Kenya is causing the rainwater to run off into lowland lakes and streams — just one of the reasons Kenya has become a water-scarce country.
Lions in Kenya have partnered with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to help remedy this problem through reforestation. On December 9, Lions, AKDN and members of the community came together to plant trees. More than 7 million seedlings have already been planted in the past five years. The goal is to plant more than 15 million by the end of 2014.
Watch the video above to learn more about the tree planting project in Kenya.
Does your Lions club plant trees in your community? Share your stories and projects in the comments below!
Leo forums and conferences are held across the globe to bring Leos and Lions together for discussion on improving service activities, strengthening the Leo-Lion relationship and raising awareness about Leo clubs. Below are just some of the regional Leo events that have taken place so far this year.
ELAC (Leo Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean)
Date: August 7-11, 2013
Location: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Approximately 120 Leos and Lions in attendance from 12 countries to the 33rd annual event. The event included a Leo speech competition, discussions on the challenges facing the Leo program in Latin America, and a service activity that encouraged healthy hygiene among elementary students.
LEF (Leo Europa Forum)
Date: August 10-17, 2013
Location: Himos, Finland
121 participants from 20 countries to the 38th annual event. The theme of the forum was Sustainable Development. The 2013 LEF included several workshops about sustainable development as well as service activities focusing on accessibility for disabled persons and disabled athletes.
OSEAL Leo Conference
Date: November 9, 2013
The conference was held during the 2013 OSEAL Forum and included a keynote address by PIP Habanananda, a town hall panel discussion, as well as opening and closing sessions. The event focused on several themes: the Leo to Lion transition, the Leo/Lion relationship, and the 2013-14 International President’s theme.
ISAAME Leo Symposium
Date: December 8, 2013
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
The event was held in conjunction with the 2013 ISAAME Forum. Presentations covered topics such as leadership, strategies to strengthen the Leo-Lion partnership, raising awareness of the Leo Club Program, and service activities for Leos.
Have you attended a Leo forum or conference this year? Share your story in the comments below!
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