opening eyes
Jan
23

Opening Eyes

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Seeing His Way to Gold

A Special Olympics athlete from Poland, 17-year-old Tomasz Banas had never had his eyes checked. Like many intellectually disabled people, he was living with the added difficulty of poor eyesight due to not receiving proper eye care. Among Special Olympics athletes, 68 percent have not had an eye examination in three years, 37 percent are in need of eyeglasses and 18 percent wear clinically incorrect eyeglasses.

Serving the often overlooked

Fortunately, the Lions Clubs International-Special Olympics Opening Eyes program works with the Special Olympics to conduct vision screenings, fit glasses and refer urgent needs to eye specialists. At Banas’ games, Lions helped to screen 900 athletes and gave free glasses to 288 athletes. Lions are crucial to Opening Eyes’ success: more than 15,000 Lions have volunteered in the program. Volunteer optometrists/ophthalmologists, optometry students, opticians and optical center employees work alongside the Lions volunteers, providing diagnosis and referrals, and teaching the athletes how to better care for their eyes.

Opening Eyes is celebrating 10 years of the Lions/Special Olympics joint partnership. Since the program began, LCIF has contributed a total of US$13.39 million in funding, and more than 99,000 athletes have received prescription eyewear.

A special milestone

When Banas arrived at the September 2010 Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia Regional Games in Warsaw to compete in badminton, he was excited. But, Banas was unaware that getting his vision screened might be the most remarkable thing to happen to him at the games. Banas became the 200,000th athlete to receive vision screening by Opening Eyes, and he did need glasses. Banas’ new glasses helped him score gold in doubles badminton and silver in singles badminton.

From LCIF: Our Impact Story Archives

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Jan
22

SightFirst Hard at Work in the United States

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During a recent SightFirst Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting, two grants were approved to fund vision-related projects in the United States:

A US$200,000 grant was awarded to the Lions of Illinois, District 1-J, to upgrade the VNA/Spectrios Eye Care Clinic in Aurora. It is estimated that 2,000 low-income patients will benefit from this project over the next three years. To help reach that target, Lions of District 1-J will organize a speakers’ bureau that will present educational programs on the basics of eye care, the importance of yearly eye exams, and the services available at the VNA/Spectrios Eye Care Clinic.

A US$319,500 grant was awarded to the Little Rock Founder’s Lions Club to assist the World Services for the Blind, a state-licensed and nationally accredited blind and low vision service organization in Arkansas. This project will empower approximately 224 blind and visually impaired adults to achieve sustainable independence through life skills, career training and community access over the next two years.

Remember, SightFirst grant applications are due May 8, 2015, for review by the SAC in August 2015.
SightFirst_wordle

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5
Jan
22

Supplies for Students in Turkey

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The Mersin Kilikya Lions Club in Turkey donated writing utensils, stationary and other school supplies, as well as scarves and shoes to the students at a local Primary School. They even provided a preschool classroom with various toys, tablets and an overhead projector. Follow the Mersin Kilikya Lions on Facebook to learn more about how the are making an impact in their community!

Did you participate in a similar youth project? We want to know what your club has organized for the Centennial Service Challenge. Share your story with us!

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Preston bowling
Jan
20

Preston’s Blog: Celebrating in Venezuela

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Joni and I had a blast in Venezuela last week. Not only were we able to celebrate Melvin Jones’ birthday with Leos and Special Olympic athletes, but we were able to see how dedicated the Lions in Venezuela are to making an impact on their communities. We spent our time attending the FOLAC Forum, getting to visit the mayor and join in a parade, as well as dedicating a library and partaking in a tree planting project. It’s always a great time when the Lions get together!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook to see more activities, projects and pictures from my trips around the world.

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Jan
19

LCIF Provides Emergency/Disaster Relief Grants in December 2014

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When natural disasters strike, Lions are there to offer help and support. In times of need, Lions are able to rely on disaster relief grants and funds from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).

In December 2014, LCIF provided LCIF logo8 emergency and disaster relief grants totaling US$70,000.

These grants are adressing meet immediate needs in:

Cape Verde, District 403-A1
$10,000 for volcano relief

Philippines, District 301-A2
$5,000 for typhoon relief

Indonesia, District 307-B2
$10,000 for landslide relief

Morocco, District 416
$10,000 for flood relief

Sri Lanka, District 306-B1
$10,000 for flood relief

Sri Lanka, District 306-B2
$10,000 for flood relief

Sri Lanka, District 306-C1
$10,000 for flood relief

Philippines, District 301-B1
$5,000 for typhoon relief

*Emergency grants listed by date approved.

Emergency Grants provide up to US$10,000 for districts impacted by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis. 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.

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