Las Vegas Twin Lakes Lions Club Opens First Clinic for the Poor as Legacy Project

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Mother Teresa said that, at the end of life, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made and how many great things we have done. We will be judged by our simple acts of kindness: “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor.

Members of the Las Vegas Twin Lakes Lions Club have embraced her mission with their recent Legacy Project.

In 1980, Salve Vargas Edelman, the club’s charter president, came to America from the Philippines. “I grew up hearing that we had to help those in our own backyard,” she recalled. “Today, I see poor people in our area who don’t have access to healthcare. And it’s sad because this is America! That’s why I chartered this Lions club. We made it our mission to support the Twin Lakes Community Clinic to help the underserved, marginalized and indigent people in our community.”

Her club went to work organizing various fundraising events for the renovation of a vacant building, which the City of Las Vegas approved to operate as a medical clinic. The Lions held a bowling tournament and a silent auction, and hosted a Disco Fever event and health fair as some of their fundraising activities.

The Las Vegas Twin Lakes Lions renovated the building by changing the flooring from old carpeting to wood flooring, painting the inside of the building and creating separate rooms for each service being provided, in accordance with city code requirements. They received donations of tables and chairs, filing cabinets, decorations, a fireplace screen and assorted medical supplies and equipment.

Last year, the clinic launched a soft opening which was attended by several government officials, business and religious leaders, the media, and of course, Lions and their families and friends.

Today, the clinic provides a variety of preventive health and wellness services, such as screenings for vision, diabetes and hypertension, as well as education, awareness and information about health issues.

“We wanted to help build a healthy community and make the lives of the people we serve better,” Edelman added. “We have left a lasting Lions legacy in our area, one that will impact generations to come.”

What will your Lions club legacy be? This is the last year to celebrate the Centennial with a Legacy Project, so start planning yours today!


Touchstone Story–Traffic Safety

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The first thing you might see driving into a county or town that is home to a Lions club is our familiar seal, accompanied by the words drive safely.

For decades, Lions have been spreading the word about traffic safety. In 1961, LION Magazine featured an article titled “Death Wears No Belt” with photos of fatal car accidents to emphasize the necessity of seat belts. Sgt. Elmer Paul, an Indiana State Highway patrolman, undertook a private mission to analyze accident statistics, asking, “Why do some people walk away from crushing crashes—and others die in piddling fender bumps?” He pored over accident report forms and came to the conclusion that motorists who wore seat belts were much more likely to survive a crash. Paul became a self-proclaimed “seat belt missionary,” teaming with LION Magazine and the Lions Club Safety Committee to spread the word.

The following year in British Columbia, Canada, when efforts to make automobile seat belts mandatory stalled, the Victoria Lions Club took action. The club rented a booth at the local Agricultural and Industrial Fair and distributed car accident statistics—and, more importantly, took orders for seat belts and seat belt installation. On subsequent weekends, club members installed government-approved seat belts in more than 1,500 automobiles at an auto body repair shop owned by a club member.

Seat belts did become standard, but the push for traffic safety continued. In 1983, the Briscea Cidneo Lions Club in Italy created a public awareness project called Il Casco, or ”The Helmet,” that targeted young motorcyclists who resisted wearing protective headgear. Conferences, public debates and school presentations helped get the word out that “with il casco, you are a smash!”

Educating children and teenagers about traffic safety remained a top priority in 2013, when the Marmaris Lions Club and Marmaris New Century Lions Club in Turkey organized a live children’s entertainment show in which a series of characters such as fairies, doctors and police officers illustrate traffic safety in a fun and informative way.

In 2014, Lions from Rameswaram, India, took to the streets with more than 100 police and Ramanathaswamy Temple staff in a two-wheeler rally to raise awareness about bicycle safety on the island community. Lions distributed safety pamphlets and stressed the life-saving utility of helmets.

The trademark of so many Lions, across the globe and over the years, is one of simple awareness: Buckle your safety belt. Wear a helmet. Look both ways. The simplest safety measures can make the biggest difference.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!


Touchstone Story #94–The Lions Store

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Need a gavel or a gong for the weekly club meeting? Looking for golf balls, tees, towels, ball markers, shirts, sweaters and visors for that big fundraising tournament coming up? How about a cast aluminum grave marker to proclaim your Lions loyalty through the ages?

These are just a few of the 1,300 Lions-themed products available online or in the glossy, full-color pages of the Lions Club Supplies catalogue, better known as the Lions Store. And if a member can’t find something, a phone call or e-mail to the store’s member services staff can quickly fill the bill.

“Nothing is out of the ordinary,” said Nicolette Donofrio, longtime manager of the Club Supplies sales department at Lions Clubs International headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, USA. “If a Lion wants it, we’ll find it. We never turn down a sale.”

The Lions Store has been in business in various forms since Lions Clubs International was founded in 1917. Early issues of LION Magazine carried ads for club stationery and engraved printing plates to promote consistent use of the Lions emblem. Other ads featured products that showcased Lions’ pride, like desktop lion figurines and pen-and-ink sets.

According to Club Supplies sales department records, the first stand-alone catalogue appeared in print in the early 1930s and has been a time-tested vehicle for Lions product offerings ever since. Today the catalogue has a print run of 40,000 copies. The catalogues are mailed to nearly every Lions district and club around the world.

The online Lions Store opened in 1999 and has gone through several major upgrades to enhance Lions’ online shopping experience. The product mix is constantly changing. About 20 to 30 promising new items are added to the Lions Store each year, as older or less popular products are removed. In 2015, Lions introduced product lines themed to the 100th Anniversary in 2017.

Merchandise ships directly from inventory at Oak Brook or from satellite fulfillment centers in Helsinki, Finland, and Tokyo, Japan. Other points of distribution include Lions’ multiple district offices around the world.

The Lions New Member Kit is the most requested item with more than 85,000 kits shipped annually, followed closely by the Perfect Attendance Award. Other bestsellers include lapel pins, vests, pens, nametags, caps and banners.

Looking through old catalogues opens windows into Lions history. Some items are gone forever, like the Goat Medal, which members were enjoined to wear until they recruited a new club member. And those cast aluminum grave markers? Thirty-four forever loyal Lions each bought one in 2014, an average sales year.

The Lions Store has something for everyone.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!


Touchstone Story–Molokai

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Hansen’s disease, more commonly known as leprosy, is a chronic bacterial infection that attacks the nervous system and could ultimately result in the loss of limbs and disfigurement.

In 1866, decades before Hawaii would be annexed by the United States, its ruler King Kamehameha V exiled a number of men and women suffering from this disease to the isolated peninsula Kalaupapa, on the island of Molokai, the fifth-largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Sent against their will and forced to stay, these men and women lived in caves or rudimentary shacks made of branches and were given no medical care. A Belgian priest, Father Damien de Veuster, moved to the colony in 1873 and helped to replace the run-down shacks with permanent houses. However, for decades, men, women and children throughout Hawaii who had leprosy continued to be exiled to live lives of struggle and rugged isolation.

At the dawn of the 20th century, more than a thousand men and women lived at the Molokai colony. By June 1948, the population of the colony had dropped to 280. In that year, Molokai became home to a 31-member Lions Club charter—half of whom were those with leprosy. It was the first and only civic organization at the settlement.

The charter’s birth marked a turning point for the Molokai colony that was celebrated with an all-day celebration attended by 500 Lions and guests from all around the Hawaiian islands, an event that would have been unimaginable on the peninsula just a few decades before. The new club was headed by community leaders. The local sheriff, the settlement administrator and the medical director were all Lions. The Kalaupapa Lions Club raised money for polio patients and held Christmas dinners to raise funds for people who were visually impaired. Lions planted an orchard on the island and helped build Judd Park, a scenic picnic site named for Lawrence Judd, former governor of Hawaii, Kalaupapa administrator and Lion. The club also donated a ramp for the island’s airport, through which Molokai’s many visitors have arrived, including celebrity entertainers like Shirley Temple and Red Skelton.

In 1969, the laws confining people with leprosy on Molokai were lifted, though some chose to remain on the island. With 20th century medical advances, Hansen’s disease is able to be treated and is no longer a cause for isolation and exile.

Molokai remains relatively isolated. The island sees a fraction of the visitors that explore the other Hawaiian islands, and a barge of groceries, sundries and other supplies arrives once a year to stock the local general store. But the legacy of the Kalaupapa Lions Club is proof that even those afflicted with a terrible disease can choose to give of themselves. Of the 17 total residents of Kalaupapa in 2013, eight of them were Lions. “We Serve” has rarely been so clearly modeled and exemplified as by those who, in another era, required help themselves.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings!



Touchstone Story #84–Special Interest Clubs

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No matter what the circumstance, if there is a need, there is a Lions club to meet that need. A fast-growing alternative to the traditional Lions club model, special interest clubs are attracting new members with shared interests.

In contrast to standard clubs, which draw from a cross section of their communities, special interest clubs bring together Lions with common interests or similar circumstances. Some clubs focus on helping people with diabetes, for example. Others focus on professions, such as educators or law-enforcement workers.

There are clubs for veterans, environmentalists, snowmobile fans, professional women and people with shared ethnic backgrounds. There is a ballroom dancing club in Hawaii. And there are cyber clubs that meet and conduct club business primarily online, with members logging in from around the world.

Lions have been forming special interest clubs for decades. The Benton Bay Athletic Lions Club in Anchorage, Alaska, USA, was chartered in 1984 to support local college and youth sports. The growth of specialty clubs has accelerated in recent years as societal shifts put more demands on peoples’ limited free time. Special interest groups offer a flexible format that lets Lions accommodate today’s volunteers in a way that fits their ever-changing lifestyles.

Just as with any newly formed Lions club, special interest clubs need to be sponsored by an existing club and go through a charter process. Like Lions everywhere, the members get together to perform service projects and help others, but often the projects reflect the specialty club’s area of expertise.

The El Paso Executive Women’s Lions Club in Texas, USA, offers mentoring and computer-skills training to disadvantaged young women.

Similarly, in Middletown, Virginia, USA, a group of elementary teachers, concerned about children missing preschool education, formed the Middletown Children First Lions Club. The club works with 3- to 5-year-olds to help them prepare to be successful in kindergarten. The club’s Little Lions Preschool classes have made a big difference in children’s readiness. Parent Chrissie Sison said her daughter Annalise “enjoyed every minute” of her time at Little Lions and, thanks to the Lions, “Annalise just loves school,” she added.

Explore the dynamic history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!


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