Blind Sailing
Sep
9

Lions’ Blind Sailing Championship

Author: 2 Comments

Our guest post today was an article posted in the Wisconsin LION magazine, “Why Me?” by Lion BJ Blahmik. He tells his experience being visually impaired and how he did the one thing he thought he never could do … sailing. The Lions of Wisconsin are sponsoring the World Championship of Blind Sailing in Sheboygan on September 9th-14th. Check out the Wisconsin Lion’s Facebook page or the Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan’s Facebook page for updates on the events.

 

My name is BJ Blahnik and I am visually impaired from Retinitis Pigmentosa. I still have some vision, however it is very limited. The community would consider me visually impaired, but I consider myself visually challenged. As my sight diminished, I was forced to make a life change and turn in my driver’s license when I was 23. I lost all sense of independence which was very frustrating. I gained a lot of that independence back when I received my first Leader Dog in 2008. This was a major life change and it pointed my outlook on life in the right direction. My life is now better because of Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Knowing that Leader Dogs for the Blind was founded by a service organization called Lions Clubs, I knew I wanted to be involved. Becoming a Lion and being a part of an organization that focuses on the blind and visually impaired, as well as many other community projects on a local, State and International level we learn how good it is to serve those in need. Those experiences helped me become a better person and changed my life entirely.

Many of those personal life changes allowed me to find that special someone, get married and have a family. Because of this I moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I grew up around dairy farming and rarely had the opportunity to be able to do something like being on the water. By having my new family and now living next to such a beautiful scene such as Lake Michigan, I knew I wanted to take advantage of this. I went sailing for the first time a while ago and really enjoyed the experience. The first thing which came to mind was how would I ever be able to do something like this, therefore I let that desire wash away.

I went sailing again because I heard about the World Championship of Blind Match Sailing and realized that sailing for someone like me is possible. I took a lesson on how to sail and it was very overwhelming at first. After working with my instructor, we broke the training down into very small pieces of information. Once we got out of the harbor and onto the lake, the first thing we talked about was how do I learn. With discussion going back and forth we discovered I needed to just start sailing and ask questions as we went along. I was very nervous at first, but thanks to the instructor’s calming attitude, I began to feel comfortable pretty quickly.
After a few tips on a very basic level, we learned we should start with sound. When I heard the main sail start to flutter, I knew to pull the tiller towards me a little to maintain a straight line. Quickly I began to understand the wind and was reacting to the sail as soon as it happened. Eventually I was able to hear the jib flutter, before the main sail, which allowed me to anticipate the movement. By just managing these couple sounds my instructor went silent and allowed me to sail by myself.

In no time at all, I was driving something, a sailboat, all by myself for the first time in 12 years! I felt like I had another chapter of independence, one which I thought I would never have again. I was so inspired, I felt in charge and I thought to myself, “Why not me?”

Hearing about the International blind sailors coming to Sheboygan, I knew I could do this, too. With this inspiration, and I am pleased to say I am receiving sailing lessons and hope to someday be like those sailors who do not see themselves as impaired, rather they all say, “Why not me?”.

Read Sailing Magazine article “Finding Freedom” about this event.

Read More

Sep
8

LCIF Provides Emergency Grants in August 2014

Author: Leave A Comment

LCIF logoWhen 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 August 2014, LCIF provided 22 emergency grants totaling US$150,000. These grants are helping meet immediate needs in:

Nepal, District 325-A2
$10,000 for landslide relief

India, District 317-C
$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-C4
$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-C5
$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 318-C
$5,000 for flood relief

Philippines, District 301-D1
$5,000 for typhoon relief

India, District 323-C
$5,000 for flood relief

United States, Arkansas, District 7-I
$10,000 for disaster preparedness

United States, Kansas, District 17-N
$10,000 for disaster preparedness

India, District 317-D
$5,000 for flood relief

Japan, District 335-C
$10,000 for flood relief

Japan, District 336-D
$10,000 for flood relief

Nepal, District 325-B2
$5,000 for flood relief

Bangladesh, District 315-B4
$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 321-B1
$5,000 for flood relief

Japan, District 335-A
$10,000 for flood relief

Thailand, District 310-A2
$10,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-E
$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 318-A
$5,000 for flood relief

Bangladesh, District 315-A1
$5,000 for flood relief

Bangladesh, District 315-B1
$5,000 for flood relief

Republic of Korea, District 355-A
$10,000 for flood relief

* Emergency grants listed by date approved.

At the heart of LCIF’s disaster relief programs are the individuals and families your donations reach. Learn more about grants recently awarded and the LCIF emergency grant program on the LCIF website. Or, you can learn about making a donation to assist with global disaster relief efforts.

Read More

7643866720_1d9b59334b_z
Sep
8

Today is International Literacy Day

Author: Leave A Comment

Two years ago, the Reading Action Program began. This program is a 10-year commitment to increase reading and literacy rates all over the world. Today, Lions have served over 17.5 million people through projects such as book donations, early reading intervention programs and more. In celebration of International Literacy Day, we are encouraging Lions to promote literacy during the month of September, as well as throughout the year.

Some project ideas your club can consider include:

  • Reading to children at a local library or after school program
  • Organizing a book exchange
  • Providing assistive devices to adults or children who have low vision
  • Supplying new parents with books for young children and including facts about the importance of early reading

You can even turn your Reading Action Program initiative into a Centennial Service Challenge project by engaging a Leo club or other youth in your community. Help reach our goal of serving 100 million people by 2017, and don’t forget to report your activity on MyLCI. Share your service activity on Facebook and other social media sites with the hashtag #LIONS100 so other clubs can see how you’re making an impact.

How is your club promoting literacy in your community?

 

Read More

clerson_windson_brazil_large
Sep
5

A New Home and a New Future

Author: Leave A Comment

Clerson Nacimento, 13, and Windson Randrei, 12, lived on the streets of Recife, a large Brazilian city with white-sand beaches and squalid slums. The streets offered a grim daily reality of drugs and drug dealers, random violence, petty theft, hunger and, perhaps most tragic of all, an utter lack of guidance and love.

An alternative to the street

Brazilian Lions wanted to give these children a chance at life. With the assistance of an LCIF US$75,000 standard/matching grant, the Street Children Center was constructed in 2001. Two years later, the Foundation gave a US$60,000 grant for expansion so the center could accommodate 50 children instead of 23. The Street Children Center includes a dormitory, dining room, classrooms and exercise room—it’s a safe haven for children who have lived lives of chaos. Thanks to LCIF and Lions, thousands of young people around the world, like Nacimento and Randrei, have been given the opportunity live, learn and begin to dream about their futures. But there are still countless more children who need our help.

Lives turned around

With the Street Children Center to call home, Nacimento and Randrei began to feel hopeful and cared about after years of neglect. Once destined for prison or an early death, they now are beginning to enjoy being kids for the first time and are looking forward to becoming productive citizens. After being at the Street Children Center for just one month, Nacimento said, “I want to be a doctor. The street is so bad. I want to tell the other street children to come here so they can stop suffering.” Added Randrei, “I love it here. We go on day trips to the beach and to the museums. We play. We even have tea time. I would like to thank Lions for this opportunity.”

Read More

Sep
5

Visit LCIF at the USA/Canada Forum!

Author: Leave A Comment

USACANADA

Experience the impact of Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) at this year’s USA/Canada Forum from September 11 through September 13 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This year’s theme is “Building Leadership One Block at a Time.”

LCIF will have a booth where staff can answer questions regarding grant programs, the application process, and donations, as well as provide informational materials. Be sure to ask about the Lions Measles Initiative!

This year, there are several LCIF informational sessions:

→ On Friday, September 12, visit room 202 BC from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to learn about updates from LCIF, and how you and your club can make a difference.

→ On Saturday, September 13, Immediate Past International President and LCIF Chairperson Barry Palmer will host a seminar titled Immediate Past District Governors: Continue Making Your Dreams Come True. This seminar will be held in room 208 BC from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

→ Lions Quest connects the home, school and community. On Saturday, September 13, visit room 201 AB from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to learn about how Lions Quest reinforces positive values for students.

Forums provide for an exchange of information and ideas surrounding service activities and Lions’ projects while promoting the principles and objectives of Lions Clubs International and LCIF. All Lions in the constitutional area in which the forum is held are invited to participate.

You can read about LCIF’s activities at the Europa Forum in the upcoming weeks. 

Read More

Videos

LCIF’s Vision for the World

Friday, January 18, 2013

Few organizations have the vision of LCIF. When Helen Keller challenged Lions Clubs International in 1925 to lead the cause of preserving and restoring sight, few could have…

Video: Texas Lions Camp for Children

Friday, January 18, 2013

Many children with disabilities often feel as if they don’t fit in simply because they are different than others. The Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, Texas, gives children…

New LQ Video: Champions of Change

Monday, January 14, 2013

The January 2013 Lions Quarterly (LQ) is now available on the Lions News Network (LNN) to view, download and share. The above segment features the Lions Champions of…

Video: Lions Club Cleanup, Gangnam Style!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The New Century Lions Club of Penang, along with the YB Koay Teng Hai Service Team, organized the Cleaning Gurney Drive 2012 event, which was held in late…