Touchstone Story–Lions Quest

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Lions Quest began as one teenager’s passion to find a better way to prepare young people to handle life’s challenges. Today, it is one of the most widely used social and emotional learning programs in the world.

In 1975, 19-year-old Rick Little of Findlay, Ohio, USA, suffered severe back injuries in an auto accident. Immobilized for six months, Little found himself with a lot of time to contemplate why schools were doing so little to help youth develop the life skills and strength of character needed to succeed as adults. When his injuries healed, Little set out on a nationwide pursuit for answers, interviewing teenagers, teachers and experts in child and adolescent development.

After a struggle to find initial funding, Little established Quest International in 1977 with the help of a US$130,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to design and develop values-based curricula and drug-use prevention programs. Little went to work creating teaching tools easy to adapt across different cultures and educational systems.

The Lions got involved in 1984 when the Lions Clubs International Foundation made its first grant to Quest International, a grant that funded additional program development and expansion. Later that year, Lions Clubs International formed a working partnership with Quest International to launch a major drug prevention initiative called Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence, targeting middle-school grades 6 through 8. Lions clubs partnered with local school systems to implement the program at the community level.

Over the next 18 years, Lion’s partnership with Little’s organization grew in scope and impact. Lions introduced programs to serve students at all grade levels, from kindergarten through high school. Independent researchers gave the programs high marks for promoting positive behaviors and boosting academic performance.

In 2002, LCIF acquired formal ownership of the curriculum materials. Lions Quest soon became Lions’ signature youth development program worldwide. By 2015, Lions Quest had grown to include 36 languages in 85 countries reaching more than 13 million students.

Lions clubs around the world have been key to the success and expansion of Lions Quest, supporting the program through local funding, coordinating teacher training, co-hosting parent meetings, speaking to youth and undertaking joint service projects with students.

Lions Quest goes beyond academics to teach students how to make responsible decisions, set goals, be accountable for their actions, develop healthy relationships, resist peer pressure and engage in community service.

Teaching materials are continually updated to meet new challenges.

In Turkey, for example, public and private school teachers are using Lions Quest to confront bullying. Mine Guven, a professor of early childhood education at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, is conducting an evaluation of the effort.

“I got involved in the program because the training was so impressive to me,” Guven said. “The challenges are the same all around the world. By using Lions Quest we manage to have peaceful classrooms.”

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!

flood India

LCIF Awards Disaster Grants, November 2017

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) offers a variety of funding options to support various stages for disaster relief operations, including Disaster Preparedness, Emergency, Community Recovery and Major Catastrophe Grants.

For districts impacted by a natural disaster including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis, Emergency Grants provide up to US$10,000. Lions district governors may apply for disaster relief funds to help meet immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies. LCIF typically awards more than US$2 million in Emergency Grant funding each year. Community Recovery Grants aid districts interested in supporting short-term cleanup and repair efforts in situations where other organizations have already addressed immediate needs. Lions district governors may submit proposals for community recovery grants.

In November 2017, LCIF awarded 7 Emergency Grants and 2 Community Recovery Grant totaling US$95,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

Columbia, District F-4
US$10,000 for flood relief

India, District 324-A5
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 324-A8
US$5,000 for flood relief

Italy, District 108-LA
US$20,000 for community recovery

Greece, District 117-A
US$10,000 for flood relief

Philippines, District 301-C
US$5,000 for flood relief

Malaysia, District 308-B2
US$10,000 for flood relief

Paraguay, District M-2
US$20,000 for school repairs

Republic of Korea, District 356-E
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund today.

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Celebrating 60 Years of Leos – #ProudLeo

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December 5th is the 60th Anniversary of the Leo Club Program. As part of the celebration, we asked members of the Leo Club Program Advisory Panel to share why they are proud to be a Leo. On December 5th, we encourage every Leo to share why they are a #ProudLeo on their Facebook page.


“I am a #ProudLeo because being a Leo has molded me into who I am today. For the past 15 years, I have seen myself become a stronger and respected leader, as well as successfully learned how to balance my career and education. Being a Leo has helped me shine in everything I have ever been involved in and today I proudly say that I am a Leo.”

Viluckshi Ravindran from Colombo Plaza Leo Club



“I am a #ProudLeo because being a Leo has taught me to have an open mind and to learn from different people and cultures, which has helped me grow as a better person. I have been given experiences and opportunities in leadership and along the way have made some of the closest friends. Being a Leo has truly been a life changing experience.”

Aayush Bagla from Calcutta Park Avenue Leo Club

Kolkata, India


“I am a #ProudLeo because of the skills I’ve learned to build a better world. There is a circle of giving because by helping others you help yourself. To build a better world we must help and we must serve.”

Juan Manuel “Pollo” Cáceres from Montevideo Ansina Leo Club

Montevideo, Uruguay


“I am a #ProudLeo because I knew from a young age that the meaning of life was to serve other people. Even as one person, there is so much I can do for others. As my favorite proverb says, ‘We can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone.’”

Shahenda Refaat from Alexandria Apollo Leo Club

Alexandria, Egypt


“I am a #ProudLeo because of the personal, interesting and impactful ways I have been able to give back to society. As a Leo, I have been able to have leadership experience in an international environment and I have made friends with wonderful people from all around the globe.”

Andrej Marsic from Koper Capodistria Leo Club

Koper, Slovenia


I am a #ProudLeo because of how my Leo friendships and mentorships have fully blended into my life. I have been given opportunities that money can’t buy, building connections with Leos from every constitutional area and advising younger Leos in planning of successful service projects. I have never once regretted my decision to become a Leo.

Wong Cheng Yung Bobby from Singapore Alumni Leo Club



“I am a #ProudLeo because being a Leo gave me the opportunity to represent today’s youth. Only we can empower ourselves to realize the change we want to see in this world.”

Kyle Boutilier from Surrey Central Lions Club

Surrey, Canada


“I am a #ProudLeo because through Leos I have had limitless opportunities to serve in a group in order to bring greater impact to the community. At the same time, being a Leo has allowed me to learn new things almost everyday, such as leadership skills, teamwork, and time management.”

Wong Tze Cheng from Serdang Leo Club  



For more information on becoming a Leo or to sponsor a Leo Club, visit our website at


Celebrating 60 Years of Leos: Connected by One Goal

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December 5th is the 60th Anniversary of the Leo Club Program. To celebrate 60 years of Leo history, we will feature stories from former Leos around the world on what being a Leo has meant to them. Our fourth feature comes from Lina Barsoum from Heliopolis, Egypt. As a new Leo, she was intimidated by the large number of Leos from all different backgrounds. However, she quickly learned that the shared Leo goals of serving others bonded them together. At the end of her time as a Leo, she had gained the confidence and international network of friends that has continued to follow her today.

When Lina first became a Leo, she felt intimidated by the diverse group of people in her club. “I remember meeting young people from different backgrounds, politics and religions. It was daunting as a new member to engage with everyone, but I was able to overcome my shyness as I realized that we had all come together for the common goal of serving our community.” A few months later, Lina traveled to a Leo workshop in Cairo, where she was asked by one of the organizers to present to the group. “I was petrified. I was not confident in my public speaking abilities, and was afraid to mess up in front of strangers, especially people from all over Europe and Asia. I remember as I tried to refuse, he smiled and said to me, ‘We are all Leos here with the same goals. There is nothing to be nervous about. We will support you no matter what.’ That gave me the confidence to present to the workshop, and I have continued using those skills today in my professional work.”

For the next 5 years, Lina would become a leader, helping to run service projects and traveling to area forums as a representative for her club. She found that the common goal allowed her to connect with people all over the world and created an international network of friends. “I have met so many wonderful Leos from all over. We became the strongest of friends, even visiting each other outside of Leo events. I’ve slept on couches in Vienna, Paris, Budapest, Augsburg, and Amsterdam and had my house called the Egyptian Leo hotel. Even though it’s been 7 years since I’ve been a Leo, whenever I reconnect with any of my Leo friends, it’s like we pick up where we left off.”

Of advice she has to Leos today, she speaks to how that common Leo goal can bond you for life. “Leos can be a life changing opportunity. The Leo friends you make today will last a life time. I’ve found that no matter what stage we are in life, single, married, starting families, we remain united and friends forever!”


For more information on becoming a Leo or to sponsor a Leo Club, visit our website at


Touchstone Stories–Club Twinning

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Lions Clubs International club twinning fosters friendship and understanding by linking clubs across international borders. Two clubs from two different countries enter a formal agreement of friendship and cooperation, working together on mutual mission statements, organizing identical service projects in their respective local communities and even traveling together to another location in need of service that Lions can provide. Whenever possible, club members are encouraged to visit their twin club’s location, attend meetings and stay in the homes of Lions from their twin club.

“In Europe, we all have national borders within five or six hundred miles, along with other languages, old rivalries and a history of hunger, misery, and wars,” said Dr. Rudolf Rahn of Düsseldorf, Germany, a member of the Lions Clubs International Board of Directors from 1962-64. “Thus we consider it our first and decisive duty to overcome such old barriers of blood and hatred and, following the terms of the first Object of Lions International, to create and foster a spirit of generous consideration among the peoples of this old continent.”

The shortest path to understanding strangers is surely by walking in their shoes—or by shaking their hand. Rahn related a secondhand story of a French Lion who reached a more peaceful understanding, not only of himself and his fellows but also of the entire world, through twinning:

“My father was killed in the First World War. I myself was a German prisoner in the Second World War. I thought I could never again shake hands with any German. Then I consented to accompany my club to Wiesbaden, Germany, for a Lions meeting. There I made friends with the German fellow-Lions. Let me tell you that since that meeting my life and the world have been, for me, in order again.”

Club twinning led to another long-running Lions Clubs International program. Seeing the beneficial relationships that came from club twinning, the International Board approved the Lions Youth Exchange Program in 1961. In the first five years, the program would send 2,000 young people ages 15 to 21 to spend a few weeks with a Lions family in another country. Today, thousands of young people participate in the program or attend a Youth Camp, learning valuable leadership skills and meeting the next generation of Lions firsthand. In 2010, the Lions and Leo clubs of Ipoh, Malaysia, and the Lions and Leo clubs of Valenzuela, Philippines, held a formal twinning ceremony and launched a joint hunger relief project to feed homeless children in the Philippines.

Twin clubs have a single purpose: working together to serve.

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!


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