Lions Clubs International

Teaching Young Students to Serve

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The Coventry Lions Cub program began when the principal of North Coventry Elementary School contacted Lions about starting a Leo club in his school. The students were too young to become Leos, but that didn’t stop Lions from coming up with a new way to get youth involved in service. The first year of the Cub program was during the 2007-08 school year, with 179 students in five schools participating.

Today, Coventry Lions work with Lions Cubs to serve their community through activities such as book drives, eyeglass recycling, tree planting, sending care packages, fundraisers and more. The Cub program has become an excellent way to introduce the joys of community service to young children, and help them understand the importance of helping others.

Interested in starting a similar youth program in your community? Below is a Q & A with Lion Terry Stouffer of the Coventry Lions Club that addresses how the program was started.

Once the idea came along, how long did it take to get other Lions and the schools interested?

The elementary principal contacted me at the end of the school year in 2006. Over the summer, I contacted other principals and teachers in the district. By the end of the summer, every elementary school in our district was on board with the program! It was a big plus that I was a teacher in the district and had built a working relationship with all of our principals and many teachers.

We held a group meeting at the beginning of the school year and developed a plan to introduce the club idea to every school. I set up an orientation program for each of the schools in the district to promote the club.

How many hours are devoted to the Cub program on a regular basis?

The number of hours varies by school. We ask for a minimum of eight after school meetings, or one after school meeting per month. These meetings average one hour. The projects and service activities from each school help dictate the number of hours required.

You started with 179 kids. How many are still with the program?

The number varies slightly year to year – usually around 100 Cubs for the five schools, which averages out to 20 Cubs per school. This year there were 94 members.

How is the interaction between Cubs and Leos?

There have been a few service projects where Leos and Cubs worked together:

  • Last year, Leos and Cubs prepared 500 seedlings for our community to be planted as part of the LCI Million Tree initiative.
  • This school year, all of the Leo clubs and Cubs were involved in a book drive. The clubs just recently surpassed their goal of 5,000 books, which were distributed to poorer school districts in our immediate area and as far away as a New Jersey school affected by Hurricane Sandy.
  • Other projects included the Leos visiting elementary schools during PTO Fairs, and helping Lions Cubs run games and events as a school fundraiser.

Children and young adults are the future of Lions. Find updates on the Cubs program on the Coventry Lions Club website, and learn more about Lions Clubs International Youth Programs.

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Wisconsin Lions Bring Sight to Dominicans

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Eye exam

Lion Peter Emer of Kenosha, Wisconsin (USA), examines the eyes of a resident of Sabana Yegua in the Dominican Republic.

When the Lions from Kenosha, Wisconsin, landed in the Dominican Republic, it was 100 degrees warmer than when they first boarded the icy plane in Chicago that morning. But Lions set their sights on something more important than a little time in the sun.

With support from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and churches in the United States and the Dominican Republic, Lions from both countries came together to host a free vision clinic offering eye exams, prescription glasses, medication and eye surgeries for the residents of the small town of Sabana Yegua.

This was the second time the Kenosha Lions travelled to the Dominican Republic with the help of an International Assistance Grant from LCIF. This year, a $30,000 grant, combined with funds raised by Lions and the St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s parishes in Wisconsin, made it possible for the group of nearly 30 Lions and community members from both countries to host the clinic.

“Many people around the world including Sabana Yeguans are practically blind when it comes to reading,” says Dr. Peter Emer, a Lion and optometrist who helped organize the mission. “They don’t even have access to a basic pair of reading glasses. Without reading glasses, you can be blind–handicapped–for any type of close visual task.”

After just four days in the Dominican Republic Emer and his colleagues examined 1,200 people, handed out 900 prescription eye glasses and made an additional 200 orders for specialized prescriptions.

Lion surgeon Dr. Stephen Slana and two ophthalmological assistants were on hand to correct dangerous vision problems identified during the exams. In total, they performed 118 successful surgeries, correcting everything from cataracts and pterygium to problems with eye muscles.

This year marked the first time the Lions set up satellite clinics throughout the Dominican Republic to treat residents unable to make the trip to Sabana Yegua. These clinics included a trip to a nearby Haitian neighborhood, where Lions performed eye exams in an old church, and a trip to a local prison, where prisoners and guards alike were provided with sunglasses, eye drops and baseball caps to protect them from the sun.

The international cooperation between the Lions from Wisconsin and the Dominican Lions made the trip successful. From transporting patients to gathering patient information and arranging follow-up care, Dominican Lions were instrumental to the clinic.

Even after the success of this trip, the Lions are still looking for ways to improve on future missions. For their next trip, Lions are researching new clinic locations and looking for ways to further improve patient access to post-surgery follow-up care.

One thing is clear: the international partnership forged between Lions is a bond of commitment and service that transcends languages and borders. Just ask the thousands of Dominicans whose futures look brighter now than ever before.

*This story by Eric Margules originally appeared in the June 2014 edition of LION Magazine.

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Lions Clubs International

Social Media Tip: How to Use Hashtags

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You might hear us telling Lions to use hashtags when posting pictures and stories of service activities on Facebook and Twitter, but what exactly is a hashtag and how do they work? Here’s a basic rundown:

What is a Hashtag?

(on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

When you add #LionsClub to a message on Twitter or Facebook, you’re essentially joining a conversation. People on Twitter and Facebook can search for a specific hashtag, and your message will show up in those search results. Your hashtag is letting everyone know the great things that your Lions club is doing for the community.

Here is what shows up on Twitter when searching for messages with the hashtag #LionsClub:

Using Lions Hashtags

There is a handful of hashtags that we use in our social media communications, and we encourage Lions to use them, as well. Pick one or two hashtags under which your message falls; for example, if you’re posting a photo of a recent book drive for the Reading Action Program, add #ReadingActionProgram to the end of your message. Or if you’re sharing photos from your convention experience in Toronto, use #LCICon. For disaster relief efforts, use #LionsRelief. For more general posts — perhaps a simple photo of members at a meeting — use #LionsClub.


Lions Hashtags:


Share Your Stories

Hashtags also help us share your stories with Lions everywhere. We’ll often search for Lions hashtags on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and post the stories on our official social media channels. Take pride in your service and help us share your story! #WeServe!

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LCIF Supports Youth in Many Ways

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Since its founding in 1968, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has been committed to helping Lions help children and young adults in need all over the world. From the Lions Quest program that supports social and emotional learning in schools to constructing schools in developing nations and providing vocational training, LCIF supports youth in many ways.

Youth_wordleWhat comes to mind when you think of LCIF and supporting youth?

LCIF is proud of all that Lions are able to accomplish worldwide! Learn more about the ways that LCIF can help Lions support youth through the Lions Quest program and more on the LCIF website.

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Lions Clubs International

A Day in the Park with Lions

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The Miskolc First Lady Lions Club in Hungary had a great time celebrating Helen Keller Day earlier this month with blind people in the community. The Lions event invited blind people to join them at a local park for a day of relaxation and exercise, including gymnastics and Nordic walking. Fifty blind people joined in the fun!

Since 1925, when Helen Keller challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness,” sight programs have become a huge part of Lions’ service around the world. These programs include eyeglass recycling, vision screenings, eye banks and more. How does your Lions serve the blind and visually impaired in your community?

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Story of the Week: Lions, LCIF Launch Program to Eliminate Trachoma in China

Friday, October 21, 2011

Through our efforts and global partnerships, we’re working to eliminate preventable blindness. The Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and our clubs immunized 41 million children in Africa against…

Story of the Week: Lions Help Students Reach Their Goals with School Supplies

Friday, October 14, 2011

For generations, our clubs have served as an educational partner for students. Many children begin their education with a preschool vision screening performed by a Lion. Other students…

Lions in Australia Help Chart a New Course for Troubled Young People

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Many of our members work on projects to meet the specific needs of youth – whether they’re at risk for vision loss or don’t have enough to eat. In Australia,…

Story of the Week: Lions Labor of Love Run Raises Money for Community Projects

Friday, October 7, 2011

Supporting causes in our communities brings clubs together with their neighbors. Our projects are diverse, ranging from cleaning up our communities to providing quality education to students. In…