lions pic
Dec
7

Leo to Lion Spotlight: Elizabeth Eberhardt

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The Leo to Lion Spotlight will feature former Leos who have chosen to continue serving their communities as Lions to inspire other Leos to follow in their footsteps and join a Lions club. Elizabeth has been a Leo Lion member of the Oak Creek Lions club in Wisconsin for three years.

  1. How many years were you a Leo, and which club were you in?

I was a member of the Oak Creek Leo club for 10 years, since I was 13 years old. Our Leo club was very active and had members from multiple communities, it was good to see the diversity.

  1. What made you decide to become a Lion?

Family. My grandma brought Lionism to our family since before I was born and then my dad joined when I was 5 years old. It is in my blood. The Lions are my extended family. I couldn’t imagine not joining a Lions club.

  1. What is the best thing about being a Lion?

Helping others and volunteering on the many projects. My club is a rather large club with many opportunities to fit all age ranges and interests. This allows me to help the community in many different areas. I love seeing the smiles on the faces of those we help. From breakfast with Santa and Christmas caroling in an assisted living home, to blood drives and eye tissue transports, we help the community one person at a time. We make a difference.

  1. Do you have any advice for other Leos thinking about becoming a Lion?

Do it! It is an amazing community of support and caring. Lions not only help the community but they help each other. I would not trade it for the world.

Visit our website to learn more about becoming a Lion. If you are a former Leo and would like to be featured in the Leo to Lion Spotlight, please email us at leo2lion@lionsclubs.org.

Ankara_Turkey
Dec
6

Message from the Chairperson: LCIF and Lions are Making a Difference

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Dear Lions,

No matter where you live, you have probably heard about the refugee situation in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes and make their way into Europe. They are leaving Syria, Kosovo, Afghanistan and several other countries, usually on foot and carrying what few possessions they still have. They are searching for a place to call home, where they can safely raise their families. Many of them are crowded into camps, lacking adequate food, water and medical supplies.

This is where Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Lions can help. LCIF has approved US$200,000 to help Lions address the needs of refugees in host countries. The Lions of Sweden and Turkey are already hard at work providing relief materials to refugees near the Greece/Turkey border. The Lions of District 118-E have received a grant for refugee assistance, with which they plan to establish a school for refugee children and support the nutrition and hygiene needs of 100 families for two months.

Lions in Europe and the Middle East recently met to share stories, resources and ideas for helping the refugees. There is also a steering committee to help coordinate efforts. Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund so Lions in the affected areas can help where help is needed most.

If your District or Multiple District is interested in aiding refugees, you can contact LCIF to find out how to request funds for local relief projects through a pilot grant program.

Thank you for your dedication to improving lives of people all over the world.

Sincerely,

Joe Preston
Chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation

Click here to read the rest of the November LCIF newsletter.

Lions - SOM Vehicle handover
Dec
3

Mission: Inclusion—A Partnership in Motion!

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In November 2015, the Special Olympics–Lions Clubs International “Mission: Inclusion” partnership platform witnessed an historical moment in Lilongwe, Malawi.  As part of a District 412 celebration, an official ceremony was held to deliver a co-branded vehicle to be used by Special Olympics and the Lions Clubs of Malawi to support outreach and services for Special Olympics athletes throughout the country.  The vehicle serves as a visual reminder of the growing partnership between Special Olympics and the Lions Clubs of Malawi.

As the global community celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2015, the vehicle also serves as an example of the commitment of both groups to expand their service reach for one of the most isolated populations in the world today – children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“The vast majority of our country is rural,” said Peter Mazunda, Chairman of Special Olympics Malawi.  “In order for us to reach many of our athletes, we must traverse many kilometers into the interior of the country, sometimes in very isolated communities.”

In support of the partnership in Malawi, Lions Clubs International mobilized interested Clubs to contribute to the purchase of the vehicle.

“When the idea was shared with me, I knew the impact it would have,” said Peter.  “The ability for Special Olympics Malawi, and the Lions Clubs, to effectively transport technical sports equipment, health supplies and equipment, and more into the interior of the country represented a significant innovation for our program, and through this, a strong impact on our athletes.”

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The vehicle was made possible by many leaders from the Lions Clubs International global community, connecting Clubs from throughout the world in a common purpose for individuals with intellectual disabilities across Malawi.

Special thanks go to:

  • Tony Moore and Peter McGhee, of the Inner-Sydney West Champions Lions Club in Australia, who inspired the Australian Clubs to contribute, thereby creating a strong ripple effect;
  • Arturo Carrio, Maria Gomez, Luis Martinez and Gonzalo Ramos of the Lions Clubs of Spain;
  • Ken Ibarra and Amy Fink in the northern California Bay Area Special Olympics Club;
  • Ron Copley, one of the pioneers of the Champions Club model from Los Angeles, who inspired the Lions of Southern California to contribute;
  • The Washington, DC, Special Olympics Lions Club and the newly-formed Capitol Hill Lions Club of Washington, DC;
  • The Lions Clubs of Malaysia under the leadership of PCC Simon Koh,
  • And individual Lions from US States like Connecticut, Kentucky, all of whom helped make the project and purchase a great success.

Special Olympics Malawi and the Lions of District 412 have shared a vibrant national partnership since 2013, formalized under then District Governor Clement Ndala.  The two groups continue to collaborate closely on exciting partnership programs such as Opening Eyes vision screenings, Unified Sports inclusive sports programming, family health education seminars, athlete leadership initiatives, and much more.

“We are committed to using the International Day of Disability as a key date to promote our work, and moreover, to promote the need for more partnership to affect change for our athletes,” said Peter Mazunda.  “The vehicle is a perfect example of how the Lions Clubs, both near and far, have answered the call of our athletes, and we are indeed excited to put this vehicle into motion!”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a guest post by David Evangelista, Vice President of Global Development and Government Relations at Special Olympics International. 

Johnson & Johnson
Dec
1

SFK Fundraising Success in New South Wales

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On Friday, November 27, 2015, Lion Nigel Jeny from Sydney, Australia, received a telephone call asking if he would be able to stop by the Johnson & Johnson Vision Care–ANZ office in Ultimo, New South Wales (NSW) for a few minutes.

Nigel, a local Lions club member for nearly 40 years and current member of the global Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) Board of Trustees, is used to making stops to local Lions club conferences, service projects or meetings with government. But this one was different.

“I really didn’t know if this would be the normal meet-and-greet or presentation. But when I arrived, their Area Vice President for all of Asia Pacific region, Jorge Pinedo, and a team of local employees welcomed me to accept a very generous donation to our joint Sight for Kids program,” said Nigel. Their ‘presentation’ was a check presented for AU$13,300 (nearly US$10,000)!

Those funds will go a long, long way – literally. The JJVC-ANZ team has focused most of its support on the Sight for Kids Kolkata program working in greater West Bengal, India. Since that site’s launch in 2005, it has provided 1.22 million Bengali children with free eye health education and vision screening and professional eye exams and treatment, as needed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that URE is the leading cause of visual impairment in school-aged children (5–15 years old) as well. Half of all cases of refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) in the world remain undetected and untreated. URE in children is most common at critical stages of adolescence, where poor visual acuity can impede cognition, ability to learn and fully participate and perform in educational as well as social settings.

This is why LCIF and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Companies (JJVCC) have provided eye health education and eye care access to millions of children since 2002 through Sight for Kids. The innovative school based program mobilizes volunteers to provide eye health education, high quality vision screenings for low income children to access professional eye care and treatment, including eyeglasses. Since 2002, more than 22 million children have been reached through Sight for Kids.

“As Lions, we’re very used to getting out in the community, raising funds and awareness and providing service to sight. But this particular and very generous donation really moved me. I was completely blown away to get to meet these local professionals and hear about their fantastic local fundraising efforts for our Sight for Kids program,” said Nigel. “It really demonstrates the values and the quality of our partnership – that our joint efforts span many continents, countries and kilometers to help overcome local barriers to healthy sight.”

For more than three years, the JJVC-ANZ team and their J&J colleagues have worked as “Sight for Kids Champions,” raising funds through run/walks, bake sales, office sausage sizzles, wine tastings, World Sight Day awareness days and more to help ensure that the Sight for Kids program can provide can give more children access to professional eye care.

“This team really understands the power of volunteers and giving back, and how important giving the gift of sight is to young students around the world,” explained Nigel. The funds the JJVC-ANZ team have raised will help to deliver Sight for Kids eye health education, screening and access to professional eye care thousands of kilometers away.

“When you think about the holiday season, it is gestures like this from our Johnson & Johnson corporate partner and their associates that really remind you of how many wonderful, caring people and companies there are out there, ready and willing to do what they can to impact lives young,” said Nigel.

In 2015, the JJVC-ANZ team and their colleagues and friends doubled their prior years’ cumulative “Sight for Kids Champion” results. From Nigel, the LCIF Board of Trustees and Lions clubs around the world — way to go, JJVC-ANZ!

Pictured above: On behalf of the JJVC-ANZ team, a check for AU$13,300 from employee raised funds is presented to LCIF Board Member Nigel Jeny to support the 2015-16 Sight for Kids program. From L to R: Paul Griebel (JJVC-ANZ General Manager), Nigel Jeny of LCIF, Despina Biniares (JJVC Business Support), and Jorge Pinedo (JJVC Asia Pacific Area Vice President).

Youth Ciudad Bolivar Lions Club (Venezuela)
Nov
25

Support LCIF When You Shop Online

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During the 2014-2015 fiscal year, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) awarded 530 grants totaling more than US$52.5 million. Every one of those grants is made possible through the generous donations  of Lions like you. Thank you for your generosity!

As you kick off your holiday shopping season, please think of LCIF. When you shop online for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday – or any day of year – remember that LCIF participates in AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to LCIF.

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