Lions Lend a Hand for Baby Rodrigue

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Today’s post is written by 2nd VDGe Lion Mike Kerek of the Reynoldsburg Lions. Learn more about baby Rodrigue, his illness and how you can help by following his family’s Facebook page.

I received an email from our MDS on May 7, 2015, who had received it from a  Lion half a world away.  Her message to the other elected district officers and myself was, “Not sure what to do with this, but it could be a good zone project”:

I’m Yannick Bonnefond, President of the Lions Club Reunion Sud France Australe located in Reunion Island (Indian Ocean). Here, we are close to the family of 7-month-old Rodrigue, who has a serious genetic illness called Werdnig Hoffman (Amyotrophie spinale).
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, USA, has selected Rodrigue to test a new experimental treatment. His parents, Jean-Francois and Cecile Cadet, and Rodrigue will fly from Reunion Island in 10 days and are expected in Columbus on May the 10th. They don’t know anybody there.
Can you tell me if you know somebody in your Lions club who might help them? They will be certainly lost and far from friends and family.
Thank you very much for your response and your help to this family.
Best regards from Saint Pierre in Reunion Island
President 2014 – 2015

By this point there were only three days before the Cadet family was to arrive, and we had no information at all  to work with except this sole email.

Through email and later Facebook, Yannick and I were able to work together and obtain the flights, times and needs of the family with a couple of hours to spare before they were due to arrive. District 13-F DGe Lion Ben Cosgray and his wife (Plain City), PDG John Fischer (Columbus Southern Pines), French-speaking Lions Vanne Ganziami, Lavie Koubaka, and Rennes Adiwenyaga from Reynoldsburg, along with myself, were all on hand to greet the travel-weary family with smiles, gifts and a warm welcome. We were able to get them to the hotel and settle in with contact information that let them know they had a support system here in the United States. Jean-Francoise and Cecile are not Lions, and were amazed at the response their friends in Reunion provoked, simply by reaching out to fellow Lions and asking for help…even to Lions on the other side of the world.

I’ve been a Lion for 16 years, and for the first time I understood the power of 1.4 million Lions. People I have never met and likely never will, unless I am very fortunate, needed assistance and got it because we were all part of the same organization that lives the motto, “We Serve.” I know the same would hold true for me, should I need it.

It’s an amazing knowledge that regardless of where I am in the world, whatever my concern or need may be, there will be a Lion there to help.


Jean-Francoise and I are staying in touch, and he’s keeping me informed. Little Rodrigue has not yet been accepted into the program he needs, but there is still a possibility. I hope and pray that Rodrigue gets the treatments he so desperately needs. I’m just glad that I could be a part of his life, if only fleetingly, and know that I touched his life and his family’s in a positive manner. It’s the only reward I need to reach out the next time.

2nd VDGe Lion Mike Kerek
Reynoldsburg Lions

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How to Apply for an International Assistance Grant

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Lions around the world are known for looking out for their neighbors, and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) can help you do just that!

The International Assistance Grant (IAG) program enables Lions clubs in developed countries to partner with Lions clubs in lesser-developed regions on projects that make a real difference for communities in need. IAGs fund collaborative projects that provide direct and immediate services to the disadvantaged. In addition, the program supports projects that aid the blind or disabled.

IAGs provide matching funds from US$5,000 to US$30,000, and fund international assistance programs focused on basic health care, education and literacy, clean water and sanitation, rural development and self-sufficiency programs, services for people who are blind and otherwise disabled, and environmental protection. IAGs can also be considered for Lions’ international medical missions and larger-scale Lions’ eyeglass recycling centers that have a demonstrable impact on serving Lions in developing countries.

If your club or district is considering an international humanitarian project, learn How to Apply for an LCIF International Assistance Grant.


Then submit your International Assistance Grant Application. Remember, IAG applications requesting up to US$10,000 are reviewed internally and may be submitted throughout the year. Applications seeking between US$10,001 and US$30,000 are reviewed three times a year by the LCIF Board of Trustees. Applications are due by July 31, 2015, for review at the October 2015 Board meeting.

Contact the LCIF Humanitarian Programs department at LCIFHumanitarianPrograms@lionsclubs.org for more information.


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Raising Environmental Awareness in Children

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“Lions Club is a voluntary service organization that does not expect something in return, and its strength will increase with every single person. That’s why I wanted to join this community,” said Nazan Sagir, Head of District 118-T Environmental Awareness Committee and member of the Samanyolu Lions Club in Turkey.

The Environmental Awareness Committee of District 118-T prepared a children’s book with the belief that environmental awareness should be developed during the early stages of childhood. “Multiple clubs from District 118-T, members from our community, teachers from the elementary schools, and my family gave their support to this project,” says Nazan.

The book has been distributed to 6,000 children since the beginning of this year. Their goal is to reach a total of at least 10,000.

How is your club improving environmental awareness in children? Share your story!


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Read the June LION Magazine

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In the June LION Magazine, check out some service projects as varied and interesting as the clubs that perform them. Also, take a look at how Lions service has enriched the lives of others worldwide. You’ll also find out:

  • What 89,000 colored beads look like when integrated into an intricate reproduction of the 2012 Lions International Peace Poster;
  • What one club is doing to support the competitors in the 2015 Special Olympics Summer World Games, in Los Angeles, in July;
  • How Lions are bringing precious aid to war refugees in Syria;
  • The dramatic difference that one Lions Club has made for street children in Mumbai.

In the digital Lion, watch a special report about the 27th annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest; read a 1932 retrospective about how a club in Montana unified a community; see a Braille cookbook published in 1960.

Visit the LION Magazine page to contact editors, view past issues and listen to audio versions of the magazine.

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A young boy receives medical treatment at a Lions Nirman Health Center clinic near Mumbai.

Street Children in Mumbai Get a Second Chance

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Mumbai, the glittering capital of Maharashtra, is the wealthiest city in India. With a population of 18.4 million people, Mumbai is home to more millionaires and billionaires than any other city in India. Yet the metropolis suffers from widespread abject poverty and entrenched unemployment, and public health services are lacking for those who need them most. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Lions in India are taking giant steps to aid those in need.

For nearly 30 years, the Lions Nirman Health Center has offered consultation and treatment in the specialties of ophthalmology, gynecology, dentistry, pathology and physiotherapy to hundreds of lower- and middle income families. The Lions of District 323-A3 were recently awarded a US$30,000 LCIF Standard grant to provide equipment to the Lions Nirman Health Center in Mumbai. The center is owned and operated by the Versova Lions Club. Thanks to LCIF and local Lions, the center will be able to help even more people with faster, more modern technology.

Aside from the lack of access to health care in Mumbai, homelessness is also a major social problem. The Lions of District 323-A2 are working with the Samatol Foundation, a nongovernmental organization that aids street children, to care for homeless and runaway children who are loitering at train depots or on the streets.

Until recently, Lions had nowhere to take them for rehabilitation. Now, Lions have received an LCIF Standard grant of US$26,822 to establish a home for street children. This grant allows local Lions to expand the partnership with Samatol Foundation to continue to provide vital services to the children who need them most.

Six times annually, street children are picked up at train stations and taken to a rehabilitation camp at the home, where they receive food, shelter, counseling and medical care in a structured setting. The goal of the camp is to reunite the children with their families. If that is not possible, the children are placed with organizations that can provide long-term assistance such as vocational training. Either way, the camp aims to keep children from returning to the streets. The camp serves more than 240 children each year.

LCIF and local Lions are actively working to improve access to quality health services and social supports for disadvantaged youth in and around Mumbai. For information on how your Lions club can apply for an LCIF Standard Grant, visit www.lcif.org.

*This story originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of LION Magazine. 

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