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).
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.
During next month’s Relieving the Hunger Centennial Service Challenge, consider organizing a school program that provides children with the food and nutrition needed to focus in the classroom.
The above video from the Lions Quarterly archives highlights three Lions clubs around the world that work with local schools to feed children. Lions in Canada provide healthy snacks for kids while in the classroom; Lions in the Philippines provide meals and teach students and parents about the importance of good nutrition; Lions in the U.S. organize a backpack program that sends children home with healthy foods for the weekend.
Join Lions everywhere as we work to benefit 25 million people through hunger projects by 2018. Share your Centennial project photos on social media with the hashtag #LIONS100, and don’t forget to report your activities using MyLCI.
Today’s guest post is by Lion Ron Robbins of the Chapel Hill Lions Club. Read our Contributor Guidelines to learn how you share your story on the Lions Blog.
One of the main goals of all Lions clubs is to serve the needs of our community, and the Indianapolis Chapel Hill Lions take this very seriously. We are proud to report that the Chapel Lions Club has provided over $17,000 in assistance in the last year to Wayne Township families in need. More than 100 people were touched by this ongoing program.
According to Lion Jim Halsted, “The people in need find us mostly through word of mouth. All of the school nurses in Wayne Township have my name and contact me when help is needed.”
For example, one of my favorite stories is about a woman who was at a food pantry for the first time and started crying. Somebody there asked her what was wrong and gave her my name, assuring her, “He will take care of you.”
I got a call from another woman who told me that her mother had just passed away and she needed some help. When the family was going through her things, she found my name in some papers. She recalled that I had helped her family when she was a young girl. When I picked her up to take her shopping, she looked at me and said, “Yes – I remember you.”
Other words of thanks from local families to the Lions:
Thank you to all Lions who serve their communities every day. You are touching lives and doing something that really matters. We Serve!
At meetings in their clubhouse Quito Lions trade gossip, jest with one another and plan projects. Next to the clubhouse is a concrete reminder of their commitment to service: the Quito los Olivos Lions have operated a community medical center in the space adjacent to its clubhouse since 1997.
Funded by modest patient fees, the Quito los Olivos Medical Center is staffed by a team of 22 medical professionals and operates six days per week. From microsurgery and neurosurgery to ophthamology to maxillofacial surgery, the clinic provides routine and specialized medical care to approximately 20,000 people each year. Since 2002, the clinic has offered extensive services for cleft lip and cleft palate, free of charge to the families in need of those services.
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, sits high in the Andean foothills. Chartered in 1980, the Quito los Olivos Lions Club has 29 members.
Recently, their clinic has seen an increase in the number of low-income expectant mothers seeking care. The private clinics in the area typically charge US$30 to US$50 for prenatal and maternity services, which is beyond the financial means of many residents. Consequently, more women are turning to the Quito los Olivos Medical Center for quality, acessible health care and family services.
To accomodate the increased demand, local Lions clubs built a second floor on the clinic to house a dedicated maternity ward. With the new space allocated and the professional expertise already on hand, all that was missing was the medical equipment.
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) awarded a US$59,043 Standard grant to the Lions of Ecuador to equip the new maternity clinic. Local Lions used these funds to purchase critical supplies such as an infant radiant warmer, a fetal monitor, newborn cribs, three electric hospital beds, a portable electrocardiograph machine, other diagnostic tools, a pediatric scale and birthing table.
“It is important to face life with a smile,” says patient Laura Inés Rodríguez Zapater. “LCIF and the Quito los Olivos Lions Club have provided us with a reason to
The LCIF grant has substantially increased the amount of services the clinic can offer. The new maternity clinic now provides women of childbearing age with family planning education, health screenings, prenatal care, delivery and post-partum care. The clinic also offers vaccinations, nutritional counseling and therapeutic services for children. The addition of the maternity clinic means the Quito los Olivos Medical Center will now serve an expected 30,000 people each year, which means healthier mothers, healthier families and a healthier community.
LCIF Standard grants provide matching funds from US$10,000 to US$100,000 to Lions clubs or districts that have identified a need within their community and have a plan to address that need. Projects must serve a large number of people and must be beyond the scope of traditional club and/or district fundraising activities. Standard grants generally provide capital funding for equipment and infrastructure needs. To learn about Standard grants, please visit lcif.org.
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of LION Magazine.
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