Preston’s Blog: 2015 Lions “Inspiring Challenges” Float

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Lions, I am excited to announce the news that our float from last year’s Rose Parade, “Lions Built Matteo’s Dream,” won the Tournament Special Trophy! This trophy is presented for having exceptional merit in multiple classifications.

This year, our “Inspiring Challenges” float features Lions providing recreational activities for the blind and visually impaired. The activities that will be displayed on the float are the Bling Fishing Derby, Blind Surfing, Blind Buddies Gold Challenge, Bling Bicycling and the Miracle League Blind Beep Baseball.

Make sure you visit the Lions Rose Float website and Facebook page for more videos and pictures of our past floats. I look forward to seeing this year’s float and getting to greet our fellow Lion friends in California! Be sure to watch for Joni and me on our “Inspiring Challenges” Rose float on January 1st.

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

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Message from the Chairperson: Lions Have Heart

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I recently returned from the Philippines, where I witnessed joy from those we are serving. I met with villagers in Tacloban and visited their new homes. I also saw smiles in the eyes of children, as they are nourished through a Lions feeding program.

As many of you celebrate the holidays and prepare for the new year, I ask that you keep these images in your heart. But I also ask you to think of the children we have not yet reached and who are still hungry.

With your donations, Lions and LCIF will continue to fight blindness, support youth, provide disaster relief and meet humanitarian needs all around the world. We are addressing global health issues, such as measles, diabetes and Ebola. We are reducing poverty through microenterprise. We are addressing needs of people everywhere. We are changing lives and providing hope to millions.

Thank you for proving that where there is a need, there is a Lion.


Barry J. Palmer
Chairperson, Lions Clubs International FoundationChildrenwaiting2

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Feeding the Children in Ecuador

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The Milagro Melvin Jones Lions Club in Ecuador organized the third version of their hunger and literacy project –providing 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students with food and books. Students enjoyed story time, a healthy snack and were able to get their face painted. It was another great success for those in the community.


We encourage Lions all across the globe to participate in the Centennial Service Challenge by organizing youth, vision, hunger and environmental projects. These projects count towards our goal of serving 100 million people by 2017. Lions, report your activities to MyLCI and share pictures on social media sites using the hashtag #LIONS100. That way other clubs can see how you’re making an impact in your community.

How are you feeding children in your community?

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Lions Plant Trees in Kenya

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LCIF awarded a US$100,000 grant to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to plant trees in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Recently, Lions Club (LC) Nairobi Runda, LC Nairobi FOSOK Champions, LC Stand Up Shout Out, LC Thika Kilimambogo, LC Nairobi Karen, LC Nairobi Dagoretti and LC Nairobi Central  teamed up with Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), Girl Guides, Serena Hotel and community members to plant trees near the Ndakaini Dam. The Ndakaini Dam supplies 80 percent of Nairobi’s drinking water. Together, they planted 25,000 trees to protect the dam catchment area.

SUSO Lions and KDF

SUSO Lions and KDF

Brownies planting 2

Young Guides at Work


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Lions in Action: Vision Screening Technology

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The Lions Club of Bloomfield, New York received an irregular result during one of their vision screenings at the local elementary school. Brianna Leitten was one of 11 students, but as a result of further testing, the Leittens discovered a cancerous tumor in their daughter’s eye. Thanks to the vision screening camera the Lions used, Brianna’s life was saved.

The Lions Step In

Through their yearly vision screenings, the Bloomfield Lions Club is able to help test the eyesight of preschool and kindergarten children. “Oftentimes young students have no idea if they’re having trouble with their vision,” says Mary Sue Bennett, principal of Bloomfield Elementary. Students who struggle with their vision will have a hard time succeeding in school, which is why it is important to screen at an early age.

Say “Cheese”

Within 30 seconds of taking a picture, the camera can determine whether the child has passed or needs to be referred for further testing. Mike Bartle, the Lion who screened Brianna, said, “The camera has a set of criteria. And so if it detects anything that’s out of the tolerance levels, it’ll come up and it’ll say either refer or pass if everything is adequate.”

Fast Facts

It is estimated that about 19 million children are visually impaired. Lions work to improve sight by screening hundreds of thousands of people every year.

Make it Happen: Vision Screening in Your Community

Below, read advice and tips from the Bloomfield Lions to help you get started and plan a vision screening in your community.

  • How do the children react to being tested?  »
    The kids are never frightened when they have the screening. They come in and they think they’re having their picture taken. They like the cool noise that the makes. They smile, they’re not afraid and that’s huge.
  • What is a referral? »
    We send a letter to the parents along with the criteria that the camera had found, so the parents can then follow up with their eye doctor. Typically it’s nearsighted or farsighted –nothing major. I’ve heard that every once in a while somebody will determine or find a childhood cataract or something like that, but the cancerous tumor was something above and beyond that. It really opened our eyes as to how beneficial this program really is, not only for us, but for other Lions Clubs that are out there.
  • How can Lions serve more children? »
    I feel that it’s very important that we get as many cameras out there as possible, because the more cameras that are out there, the easier it is for everyone to get their children’s eyes screened. Increasing the number of cameras that Lions have and increasing the number of Lions trained on using those cameras means we can screen more kids and hopefully prevent more vision issues from being permanent for the children.

Brianna, her mother and Lion Mike Bartle will be on the panel discussing this year’s theme, “Children in Need,” at the Lions Day with the UN on March 7th, 2015. Join us as we celebrate 70 years of partnership! register-now-blue

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